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Japan to extend COVID-19 emergency measures in half of prefectures under restrictions

ANI | Updated: Mar 03, 2022 15:05 IST


Tokyo [Japan], March 3 (ANI/Xinhua): The Japanese government on Thursday is set to announce that the current COVID-19 quasi-emergency measures in place will be extended beyond the Sunday deadline in roughly half of the 31 prefectures where enhanced antiviral measures are in place.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to unveil the plan later Thursday in a press conference following discussions with the government's infectious diseases experts and ministers related to the fight against the virus.
The intensive quasi-emergency measures are expected to be extended in areas including Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido and Aichi, the government said, as hospital occupancy rates in these major prefectures remain high.
The government is thinking of extending the emergency measures through March 21, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported.
Prefectures including Fukushima, Nagano, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, meanwhile, may have their emergency restrictions lifted, according to the government's plans, as the rate of infection and hospital occupancy rate in these regions have shown significant improvement, the government said.
A formal decision on the extension and lifting thereof is expected to be formalized on Friday after the government has sought further advice from its expert panel on infectious disease and relevant ministers, informed sources said.
While Japan is still grappling with relatively high rates of community transmissions of the highly-contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, Kishida will also likely confirm Thursday the government's plan to relax its border control measures.

The Japanese leader may announce that the government is considering raising the cap on daily arrivals from 5,000 to 7,000 people.
On Tuesday, Japan's border controls were eased with the limit on new entrants to the country being raised to 5,000 per day from an initial 3,500.
In addition, those entering the country, both the Japanese and foreigners, are being subjected to far less stringent quarantine measures than previously and in some cases, quarantine protocols are being exempted.
The daily cap of 5,000 new entrants announced earlier this week included foreign nationals who are not tourists being allowed to gain access to the country.
Japan's previous stringent border controls, aimed particularly at preventing the highly transmissible Omicron strain of the virus entering the country from overseas, had been strongly criticized by business and academic bodies both here and overseas, as students and business people have long been left in limbo as to when they can enter the county.
Emphasizing the discontent, Japan's entry ban on nonresident foreigners wanting to come to Japan, which came into effect from late November and lasted until the end of February and was purportedly based on antiviral measures, was blasted for being too strict and not based on epidemiological evidence.
Those coming to Japan are now asked to quarantine here for three days and are required to test negative for COVID-19 on their final day of quarantine.
Inbound travellers who have been triple-vaccinated and have departed from countries where the virus situation is under control will be exempt from having to quarantine, the government has said. (ANI/Xinhua)

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