Govt to extend pandemic-related measures through March 21 in 18 prefs.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Pedestrians cross an intersection in Tokyo’s Ginza district in mid-February.

The government decided Thursday to extend quasi-emergency priority measures until March 21 in 18 of the 31 prefectures where pandemic-related restrictions are currently in place.

The measures are scheduled to end on Sunday in the remaining 13 prefectures.

The decision will be finalized Friday by the government’s pandemic task force.

Although the government had aimed to end the measures nationwide on Sunday, the decision to partially extend the period was prompted by high hospital occupancy rates in some areas, especially in large cities.

The extension will apply to Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Aomori, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Ishikawa, Shizuoka, Gifu, Aichi, Hyogo, Kagawa and Kumamoto prefectures.

The measures will end Sunday in Fukushima, Niigata, Nagano, Mie, Wakayama, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kochi, Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures.