Japan set to expand COVID quasi-state of emergency to 8 areas

Baku, August 5, AZERTAC

Japan is set to decide Thursday on expanding its COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency to eight more prefectures, with a ban on alcohol service in principle, as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in these areas, officials said, according to Kyodo News.

The move comes just after the government expanded its virus state of emergency to Osaka and three prefectures near the capital on Monday in addition to Tokyo and Okinawa already under the measure, and imposed the quasi-emergency measure to five other prefectures through the end of August.

The addition of eight prefectures -- Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Aichi, Shiga and Kumamoto -- is expected be finalized at a task force meeting in the afternoon, with anti-virus measures in effect from Sunday to Aug. 31.

Under the quasi-state of emergency, which carries fewer restrictions on business activity than the state of emergency, dining establishments not serving liquor are requested to close at 8 p.m.

Only when the number of infections indicates a downward trend, may provision of alcohol be allowed with a governor's approval until 7 p.m. at establishments taking anti-virus steps in areas under a quasi-emergency.

Under the state of emergency, restaurants and bars serving alcohol or offering karaoke services are asked to shut during the period while the government provides money for compliance. Those not serving liquor are requested to close at 8 p.m. as well and easing the alcohol ban is not allowed during the period.

The five other prefectures currently under the quasi-emergency are Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka, but the southwestern Japan prefecture asked the central government Thursday to declare a tougher state of emergency in the area.

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