Japan to declare quasi-emergency in COVID-hit Okinawa

TEHRAN, Jan. 05 (MNA) – Japan is considering declaring a state of emergency in the southern island of Okinawa, after the region emerged as the epicenter of a new coronavirus surge, with officials saying the virus keeps spreading from US bases.

Japan’s government is poised to declare a quasi-state of emergency on the southern island of Okinawa, media reports said, after a Covid-19 outbreak traced to US military bases spread to the civilian population.

The prime minister, Fumio Kishida, could announce the measures this week, the Mainichi newspaper said, after Okinawa officials reported 225 new cases on Tuesday, including 47 of the Omicron strain. Tokyo, by comparison, registered 151 new infections.

The Okinawa figures do not include 164 new infections discovered at US bases on the island, bringing the total of American military infections in the latest outbreak to more than 1,000.

The governor of Okinawa, Denny Tamaki, has publicly criticised US forces for failing to contain an outbreak at a base last month that quickly spread to other military facilities on the island. The first Omicron case among civilians has been traced to a local man who is employed at a US base.

The emergency measures would be the first of their kind in Japan since late September when the government lifted emergency restrictions that had been in place in parts of the country for much of the year.

While cases in Japan are low compared with those in the US, Britain and parts of Europe, the number has crept up in recent days as evidence emerged of community transmission of the Omicron variant.

Japan reported 1,268 new infections on Tuesday, the first time in three months that the country of 125 million people has had more than 1,000 cases a day.


News Code 182584


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