3 prefs. take stricter anti-coronavirus measures

NHK -- Apr 06
Osaka and two other prefectures in Japan are tightening coronavirus measures to curb a spike in new cases.

The focus is on a limited area and period of time in the hopes of containing the situation so another state of emergency is avoided.

Osaka is now seeing more daily infections than anywhere else in the country.

Officials reported 341 cases on Monday... the third largest figure for that day of the week since the pandemic began.

Bars and restaurants are being urged to close by 8 p.m., stop using karaoke machines and refuse customers who don't take precautions.

Osaka City officials started patrolling entertainment districts to ensure those rules are observed.

Osaka prefectural governor Yoshimura Hirofumi said, "There are around 40,000 eateries in the city of Osaka. Your mission is essential to curb the infection."

The governor says he wants to issue a type of certificate, such as a window sign, to establishments that take thorough anti-virus measures.

Meanwhile, it's unlikely Olympic torch bearers will run on public roads in Osaka City as the torch relay makes its way through the prefecture.

Nationwide, vaccinations for people aged 65 and older are set to start in a week.

Some municipalities started accepting reservations on Monday.

The first delivery to Hachioji City in Tokyo will be 1,900 doses. Inoculations for the first round were fully booked in about 90 minutes.

The government says it will be able to ship out enough Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines by the end of June to give two doses to an estimated 36 million senior citizens.

Across Japan, more than 1,500 new cases were reported on Monday, including 249 in Tokyo.

The head of the government's expert panel is concerned about the current situation.

Government advisory panel chief Omi Shigeru said, "More and more people are coming out both during the day and at night. We will see the effect of this in a week or two. Given the situation, I'm afraid something similar to what's happening in Osaka could happen in Tokyo."