Tokyo, May 7 (Bureau) The Japanese government has extended a coronavirus state of emergency in the prefectures of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo until May 31 and introduced the measure in two more prefectures, national media reported on Friday.
The state of emergency, which was set to expire next week, will now also apply to the prefectures of Aichi and Fukuoka due to a surge in COVID-19 cases there, the Japanese Kyodo news agency reported, adding that toughened coronavirus-related restrictions will be introduced in eight other prefectures in view of the critical epidemiological situation. At the same time, the government plans to relax some restrictions, including on department stores and movie theaters, to mitigate the pandemic’s consequences on the country’s economy — the third-largest in the world, the Japanese news agency added.
The government will also drop a ban on spectators at large events, including sports, limiting instead the number of people to 5,000 or 50% of the venue’s capacity. The Asian country’s third state of emergency since the outbreak of the pandemic was declared on April 25. It included the closure of facilities serving alcohol, large shopping malls and theme parks. Restaurants that do not serve alcohol were required to close at 8 p.m. (11:00 GMT), with violators facing a fine of 300,000 yen ($2,800).