Japan: Osaka calls for a new state of emergency in the face of the worsening pandemic

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Tokyo | The department of Osaka in western Japan was preparing on Tuesday to ask the Japanese government for the establishment of a new state of emergency in the face of the rapid increase in coronavirus cases, just seven weeks after the lifting of the ‘a similar measure in its territory.

This new device should be stricter than the previous one, which mainly consisted of asking bars and restaurants to close earlier in the evening.

This time, the authorities should demand the total closure of these establishments, as well as department stores and amusement parks.

Tokyo and other Japanese departments also experiencing an upsurge in infections should follow suit, hoping to avoid seeing their health situation worsen like that of Osaka, where hospitals no longer have enough beds to patients in serious condition.

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said he informed the government that a state of emergency was needed because the measures taken so far were “insufficient”.

“I think it is time to take strong action for a limited time,” Yoshimura told reporters. A green light from the central government was expected in the evening.

Faced with the deterioration of its health situation, Osaka had banned in early April the passage of the Olympic torch relay for the Tokyo Games on the public highway and organized it instead in a closed park.

The worsening health situation in Japan once again increases doubts about the possibility of organizing the Tokyo Olympics, barely three months before their scheduled opening on July 23.

The Japanese capital is also expected to request a state of emergency on its territory this week, according to local media, as well as two other departments neighboring Osaka.

The previous state of emergency was declared in early January in much of the country, before being lifted on March 1 in Osaka and three weeks later in Tokyo.

But the health situation quickly worsened again, as the vaccination campaign in Japan got off to an extremely slow start: only one vaccine is authorized for the moment, and the vaccination of the elderly only started last week. .

Only 25% of the 4.8 million health professionals in the archipelago have already been vaccinated, and barely 13,000 people aged 65 and over, while the country has more than 36 million.