Thursday, September 16, 2021

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Japan to apply COVID-19 priority measures to 8 more prefectures


The government decided Thursday to apply emergency-level measures for eight more prefectures amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

A proposal to apply priority measures for the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Aichi, Shiga and Kumamoto was presented to the government’s COVID-19 subcommittee on Thursday morning. The measures will be in effect in the eight prefectures from Sunday through Aug. 31.

In areas under priority measures, eating and drinking establishments are asked to shorten their business hours and close by 8 p.m. and stop serving alcohol, in principle. However, if businesses meet certain conditions, such as implementing infection control measures, and if cases are on the decline, prefectural governors can approve the sale of alcohol until 7 p.m.

At the subcommittee meeting, Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of COVID-19 countermeasures, said, “The number of newly confirmed cases is increasing at an extremely rapid pace, and at a magnitude not seen before.”

Excluding Shizuoka and Aichi, six of the eight prefectures have infection levels at Stage 4 on the government’s COVID-19 alert scale, the most severe level.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura said Thursday that patients with moderate symptoms would be hospitalized in principle even in areas where cases have surged.

“Patients who doctors judge to be at low risk of developing severe symptoms will recuperate at home,” he said.

Some members of the ruling coalition have claimed that the lack of an explanation on a measure to reduce the number of hospitalizations led to people thinking that those with moderate symptoms would not be admitted to hospitals, prompting calls for a review of the policy.

Tamura’s clarification of the criteria for hospitalization could be interpreted as the government’s way of attempting to resolve the situation.

Published : August 06, 2021

By : The Japan News/ANN