Tokyo, 12 other prefectures under quasi-emergency priority measures

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People walk near Kachidoki Station in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on Friday morning, when quasi-emergency priority measures started in the capital.

Tokyo and 12 other prefectures are now under quasi-emergency priority measures, effective from Friday, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Soon, Osaka and Hokkaido will be among the eight other prefectures expected to join them.

The priority measures went into effect through Feb. 13 for Tokyo, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Niigata, Gifu, Aichi, Mie, Kagawa, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Miyazaki prefectures.

Across the nation, 16 prefectures are now under the priority measures, which have been applied to Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Okinawa prefectures from Jan. 9 through 31.

The central government is planning to apply the quasi-emergency priority measures to Hokkaido, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Saga and Oita prefectures, where infections are spreading rapidly.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers will be held as early as Monday to confirm the policy to apply the priority measures to these eight prefectures. An official decision is likely to be made at the central government’s Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters meeting on Tuesday.

In addition, Fukushima and Shimane prefectures are looking into requesting the central government to place their prefectures under the priority measures.

Arrangements are also being made to extend the priority measures’ end date for Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Okinawa prefectures — possibly through Feb. 13, in line with Tokyo and the other 12 prefectures. A decision will be made after the central government hears opinions from these three prefectures, where the surge in infection cases has slowed in some areas, but the central government likely has decided it will be necessary to continue restricting people’s activities.

Cumulative tally tops 2 mil.

The cumulative number of novel coronavirus infection cases in Japan exceeded 2 million on Thursday.

It took about one year and seven months for the figure to reach 1 million after the first infection case was detected two years ago, but only 5½ months to confirm another million.

Infections have spread rapidly, especially this month. Just from Tuesday through Thursday, 120,000 new cases were tallied.