Quasi-emergency measures to come for Osaka, 17 more prefs

The government is planning to announce quasi-emergency measures for Osaka and 17 additional prefectures to start Thursday, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday.

The decision will be formalized Tuesday after the government consults with its expert panel. The move will expand the total number of prefectures under the quasi-emergency measures to 34 out of Japan’s 47 prefectures.

The 17 other prefectures are Hokkaido, Kyoto, Aomori, Yamagata, Fukushima, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Shizuoka, Ishikawa, Nagano, Hyogo, Okayama, Shimane, Fukuoka, Saga, Oita and Kagoshima. The duration is expected to be about three weeks until Feb. 20.

Tokyo is among the 16 prefectures that currently are under the quasi-emergency measures. Measures for three others — Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Okinawa — are scheduled to last until the end of this month, but the government will likely extend the end date.

“After taking such measures, the speed of the spread of the infection has clearly slowed in some municipalities. While being fully prepared, I want to get past [this crisis] without undue panic,” Kishida said to reporters Monday evening at the Prime Minister’s Office.

As for daily new infection cases, Tokyo logged 8,503 Monday, the first time the number dropped below 9,000 in four days, but up 2.3 times the 3,719 recorded the previous Monday.

In Osaka Prefecture, 4,803 cases were announced, the first time the figure was under 5,000 in a week, but 1.9 times last Monday’s cases.