Japan on Friday expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to more four provinces after the virus spread at an “unprecedented speed” in the country amid the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“As the more transmissible Delta variant rapidly becomes dominant across the country, there are concerns that the infection could spread further,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
“Infections are spreading in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the Kansai region (in western Japan), and many other areas at an unprecedented speed,” he warned.
The brisk spread of the deadly disease in the country comes at a time when it is hosting the world’s biggest games – the Olympics. The state of emergency empowers local governorates to restrict working hours and to enforce stricter measures against the virus.
Japan logged more than 10,000 cases on Friday, public broadcaster NHK News reported.
Tokyo, the host city of the Olympics and Paralympics, is witnessing a massive surge in infections. The coronavirus is also spreading among the participants and officials allied with the Games.
The new measures, which will come into effect as of Monday to stem the spread of the infections, extend to Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Osaka provinces. Tokyo and Okinawa provinces are already under a state of emergency which is set to end on Aug. 31.
Until Thursday night, Japan reported over 902,000 coronavirus cases and 15,173 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.
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