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Covid-19 pandemic: Japan widens emergency over ‘frightening’ spike

Japan is extending its state of emergency to new regions as the country faces a surge in Covid-19 cases. Areas surrounding the capital as well as the city of Osaka are now under the state of emergency restrictions. The new cases are fuelled by the more infectious Delta variant, and Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga warns infections are spreading at an unprecedented rate. 

Health Minister Norihisa Tamura warned the country had entered a new, frightening phase of the pandemic, and the spread of infection could put the medical system under strain. Daily cases nationwide topped 10,000 for the first time on Thursday with more than a third of them in the capital. Tokyo has seen three days of record cases in a row, though it is already under a state of emergency. Rather than having legal restrictions, Japan only advises people to work from home, which is raising some questions about the effectiveness of the new measures. The new restrictions will run from August 2 to August 31.

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