As Japan battles a four wave of the virus, with daily cases topping 4,000, officials said Friday that the quasi state of emergency in place in Tokyo and five other prefectures will be expanded to four additional areas next week.
The new measures will take effect Tuesday and last for three weeks. Local municipalities can ask restaurants and bars in affected cities to close by 8 p.m., while attendance at large events would be capped at 5,000. The areas facing new restrictions include three prefectures near Tokyo and one centered on Nagoya, a manufacturing hub.
But many fear it is too little, too late. Osaka has been hit hard by the surge in cases, especially of more-infectious variants. Hospitals have faced a shortage of beds and medical staff.
With less than 100 days to go until the already-delayed Olympic Games are scheduled to open in Tokyo, the capital recorded 667 cases on Friday. Gov. Yuriko Koike has urged people, including commuters, “not to come to Tokyo.”
A senior ruling-party figure said this week that canceling the Games was still an option, depending on the pandemic situation. But Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto brushed away the idea Friday. “We are not thinking of canceling the Games. We are focusing on the method in which we can achieve and deliver a safe and secure Games,” she said at a news conference.