State of emergency over pandemic takes effect for Tokyo area


dpa/GNA – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked for public cooperation on Friday as a state of emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic came into effect for Tokyo and its surrounding region.

Suga declared the month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and its three neighbouring prefectures – Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama – and the measure lasts until February 7.

His announcement came when Tokyo posted a record 2,447 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, marking the highest daily tally for the second straight day.

In Tokyo, almost everyone is wearing a mask, but commuter trains were still packed on Friday despite the government urging more people to work from home.

Speaking to reporters, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike expressed concerns about the jam-packed trains and called on companies to reduce the number of people in the office by 70 per cent, which is one of the central government’s goals.

Suga also pointed out rising cases in other parts of the country, as Japan confirmed a record 7,570 new infections on Thursday.

“We take the current situation very seriously,” Suga told reporters. “We definitely want to overcome this difficult situation while receiving cooperation from the public.”

Japan’s month-long countrywide state of emergency ended in mid-May in most of its 47 prefectures. Several prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, were under the measure for about six weeks.

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