TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Tuesday that he is extending a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and nine other areas through March 7, amid growing uncertainty over the national rollout of vaccines and the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Suga said he will speed up vaccination plans and start inoculating a first group of medical workers in mid-February, instead of the earlier target of late February.
Under the state of emergency, the government has issued non-binding requests for people to avoid crowds and eating out in groups, and for restaurants and bars to close by 8 p.m.
New cases have declined in Tokyo and nationwide since early January, but experts say hospitals remain flooded with serious cases and that preventive measures should remain in place.
Japan has had about 400,000 coronavirus cases, including 5,800 deaths.
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