Japan government discussing virus quasi-emergency for Tokyo and surrounding areas, report says

The government has started discussions on applying a quasi-state of emergency on the capital Tokyo and its surrounding areas within the week, broadcaster FNN said on Monday, as COVID-19 cases surge.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said on Thursday the capital would implement such measures if usage of hospital beds climbed to 20%. The same day, the capital raised its COVID-19 alert to the second highest of four levels as the rapid spread of the omicron variant continued to drive up infections.

Tokyo reported 4,172 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with the hospital bed occupancy rate at 19.3%. The metropolitan government has projected that the average number of cases in the capital could rise to around 10,000 this week.

Earlier this month, the government placed three prefectures under a quasi-state of emergency in response to the surge in COVID-19 infections that local governors said has been linked to the spread of the omicron variant at U.S. military bases.

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