2nd LD: Japan’s PM expands state of emergency to 7 more prefectures

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TOKYO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic in seven more prefectures including Osaka and Aichi on Wednesday, broadening the scope of the measure amid a resurgence of the pandemic across the country.

The newly declared prefectures, also including Tochigi to the north of Tokyo, Gifu in central Japan, Hyogo and Kyoto in the west, and Fukuoka to the southwest, will remain in the status through Feb. 7.

Under the state of emergency, people in the affected areas will be asked to refrain from making unnecessary trips, and restaurants and bars will be requested to close by 8:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, firms are encouraged to have employees work from home or stagger their shifts.

The initial state of emergency took effect in Tokyo and the three adjacent prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama last Friday.

The emergency expansion comes after some governors of the prefectures asked the central government to expand its state-of-emergency declaration to cover their prefectures, bringing the total number of prefectures under the state of emergency to 11.

A state of emergency was previously declared in Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7 last year. It was later expanded to cover the whole country before being lifted in late May.

The measures of the latest state of emergency are more relaxed compared to those under the previous one, with no punishment for those that fail to comply. Enditem

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