Japan’s Osaka to request stronger virus measures amid surge in cases

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TOKYO, March 29 (Xinhua) — Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura Monday said he plans to request the central government to apply stronger anti-virus measures to the prefecture based on a revised law that took effect in February.

“Looking at how fast the virus is spreading, cases will very likely increase this week,” said Yoshimura, who believes the western Japan prefecture is already experiencing a “fourth wave” of infections.

“Osaka lifted its state of emergency over the virus earlier than the Tokyo metropolitan region, so I believe that rebound is also a factor in the high cases,” Yoshimura said.

Yoshimura said he wanted a number of measures applied, including the compulsory wearing of masks by customers at restaurants.

The request by the prefecture will be met by the central government, top government spokesperson Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato indicated.

“The prime minister would make the final decision based on infection numbers and the state of the medical system,” Kato said.

The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Osaka has exceeded 300 for three days in a row through Sunday, officials figures show.

Over the last seven days, new COVID-19 infections in Osaka have totaled 1,933, more than double the number of the previous week.

On Monday, Osaka reported an additional 213 new infections, compared to Tokyo, the hardest hit by the virus, confirming 234 new cases.

Last Friday, Osaka decided to extend non-binding requests for dining establishments in Osaka city to close by 9 p.m. for another three weeks to April 21, expanding the measure to the entire prefecture from Thursday.

The revised laws enable the central government to declare a situation that falls short of a state of emergency in which special measures can be taken to counter the virus.

The designation can be applied when infections are surging in a situation equivalent to stage 3, the second-highest on the government’s four-tier alert system. Enditem

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