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Japan to extend COVID-19 state of emergency lockdown to Sept. 12 - NHK

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By Reuters

TOKYO -The Japanese government is set to extend its state of emergency soft lockdown measures in Tokyo and other regions to Sept. 12 and expand the curbs to seven more prefectures, public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday.

The current state of emergency is due to expire on Aug. 31, but a continuing surge in coronavirus cases has spurred calls to extend it. Tokyo announced 2,962 new daily cases on Monday, after a record 5,773 on Friday.

The government will expand the state of emergency curbs to the prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka, the public broadcaster said.

It will also expand less strict “quasi-emergency” measures to four additional prefectures – Miyagi, Yamanashi, Toyama and Gifu – to cover more regions of the country, Jiji news agency reported.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters earlier on Monday that the government will seek the view of experts on emergency and less strict “quasi-emergency” curbs for all regions on Tuesday, without giving more details.

Though the Japanese government has instituted repeated states of emergency, their effectiveness has been limited due to laws mandating that the government can only request cooperation.

Pandemic fatigue and summer vacations have also been blamed for contributing to the latest COVID-19 surge in a nation where only around 36% of people have been fully vaccinated.