Japan Again Extends State of Emergency to 4 New Prefectures, Expands COVID-19 Measures

Nationwide Culture Covid-19 2021.08.02
With infection rates skyrocketing, the government is again moving to expand the state of emergency.
With daily infection numbers hitting over 10,000 a day in Japan, hitting new records in areas like Tokyo, the Japanese government is again taking steps to expand the state of emergency and other anti-infection measures. Before the sudden explosion in COVID-19 cases at the end of July, the official state of emergency was limited to just two Japanese prefectures, Tokyo and Okinawa. With the new rise in infections, the government moved to expand the state of emergency on August 2nd, extending it to include Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa (the prefectures surrounding Tokyo), plus the western prefecture of Osaka. In addition, semi-emergency coronavirus measures will be enforced in five more prefectures: Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka.
Japan's state of emergency continues to affect mostly businesses, however, as the government refrains from imposing strict measures on the general public. Restaurants and bars will go on with restricted business hours and alcohol sales, and see fines of up to 300,000 yen for ignoring those measures. With no concrete restrictions set out for the general public, however, authorities have been concerned at the seeming lack of concern seen among Japan's residents. Even as infection rates rise, everyday life has seen little change for most in Japan.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games still in full swing all over Tokyo and the metropolitan area, and pandemic fatigue becoming an obvious issue as the state of emergency drags on, there are undoubtedly a number of sources contributing to Japan's current "fourth wave." The new state of emergency, and semi-emergency measures, are set to continue until August 31st. We can only hope that the final days of summer will mellow the rise in infections enough to avoid any state of emergency extensions.

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