TOKYO: Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency for seven more prefectures Wednesday, affecting more than half the population as infections spread across the country.
Prime Minister Yoshide Suga’s announcement comes less than a week after his Jan. 7 emergency declaration for Tokyo and three nearby prefectures. The new declaration adds seven other prefectures in western and central Japan.
The measure, which focuses on requests for bars and restaurants to close at 8p.m. and for people to avoid nonessential outings, takes effect Thursday and lasts until Feb. 7.
Suga has been criticized as being to slow to act as the country’s number of reported coronavirus infections and deaths roughly doubled over the past month to about 300,000 and 4,100.