Japan's Okinawa asks for state of emergency

Okinawa witnessed new daily cases top 200 for the first time on Wednesday with 203 infections, which marked the second straight day of record high figures, reports Xinhua news agency.
Japan's Okinawa asks for state of emergency
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, held an online meeting with the prefectural government's task force on Wednesday, during which a decision was made to ask the central government to declare a state of emergency for the southern prefecture.
"Okinawa's weekly new cases per 100,000 people is at the same level compared with other prefectures under the state of emergency. I call on the central government to issue the declaration for Okinawa as soon as possible," local media quoted Tamaki as saying.
Virus conditions in Okinawa have reached Stage 4, the highest on the central government's four-tier scale, used to classify the severity and impact of the virus' spread.
Okinawa, with its population of 1.5 million, has also declared a medical state of emergency with its local healthcare system becoming overburdened due to the result of rapidly rising numbers of infected patients requiring hospitalisation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the situation in Okinawa warrants "watching with a sense of caution" and that the government will quickly review the prefecture's request to be added to the state of emergency.
Nine prefectures across Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka, are currently under a state of emergency, although these are scheduled to be lifted on May 31.
Under the state of emergency, prefectural officials have more power to request bars and restaurants to close before 8 p.m. and not to serve alcohol and ask department stores and other major commercial facilities to temporarily shutter their operations or close their facilities earlier.
Attendance at concerts and sports events have been capped at 5,000 spectators or 50 per cent of the venue's capacity, with events being requested to end by 9 p.m.
Some Governors, however, have been critical of the central government's response to tackling the pandemic as the country's vaccination program is lagging well behind other advanced countries.
According to government data, Japan has so far administered at least one shot to around just 4 per cent of its population. 
Japan's overall Covid-19 caseload and death toll currently stood at 692,702 and 11,851.

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