COVID-19 measures to be extended in 6 Japanese prefecturesc

The government plans to extend the period of quasi-emergency priority measures in the prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo for about another two weeks, according to sources.

Priority measures are currently in force in 31 prefectures until March 6. An official decision will be made this week.

The Cabinet Secretariat said the occupancy rate of hospital beds remained high in the six prefectures as of Sunday at 54% in Tokyo, 70% in Kanagawa, 66% in Aichi, 72% in Kyoto, 77% in Osaka and 69% in Hyogo. When the government announced the lifting of priority measures in Yamagata, Shimane, Yamaguchi, Oita and Okinawa prefectures on March 18, it cited an occupancy rate of below 50% as one of the criteria for doing so.

Regarding such metropolitan areas as Tokyo, Chukyo and Kansai, the government plans to make a comprehensive decision based on the situation in neighboring prefectures, as there is significant movement among people for such purposes as commuting to work and school.

The government is also considering lifting the priority measures in more than 10 other prefectures, including Saga, where the infection situation has abated to a certain degree.