The western Japanese prefecture of Osaka will on Tuesday ask the central government to declare another state of emergency, as its hospitals have been overwhelmed by surging Coronavirus, COVID-19, infections.
Osaka reported a record 1,219 new cases on Sunday, exceeding 1,000 daily infections for the sixth straight day due to the rapid spread of new variants of the virus.
Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura of Osaka told reporters that he intended to close commercial facilities such as department stores and theme parks to restrict the flow of people.
The resurgence of infections forced Osaka to cancel the torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics on public roads last week.
Torchbearers instead ran laps in an empty stadium in the prefecture.
Meanwhile, the government expanded a semi-state of emergency to four more prefectures, including Kanagawa and Aichi.
They join six other prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, already under the measure.
Under the semi-state of emergency, the government has imposed tougher measures, such as cutting business hours for bars and restaurants in designated cities.
Last week, Shigeru Omi, who chairs the government’s coronavirus advisory panel, confirmed the fourth wave of infections.
The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines has been extremely slow since its start in mid-February.
Only 0.6 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the prime minister’s office.