Japan to consider declaring Covid-19 state of emergency

Japan will consider declaring a state of emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic for Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures with massive spikes in new coronavirus infections, PM Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Monday.

Suga urged people to avoid non-essential outings, and said the government would introduce legislation to penalise businesses that flout requests to shorten hours or close, as well as provide incentives to those who abide by such calls.

Suga also insisted the government was still committed to holding the virus-postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, saying the Games would be "proof that mankind overcame the virus".

Japan posted 3,158 new cases on Sunday, about half of which were from the four prefectures – Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike expressed concerns about an increase in the number of patients with severe symptoms after the figure rose to 101 on Sunday. She urged 14m Tokyo residents to continue refraining from non-urgent and non-essential outings.

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