Japan's government has started discussions to impose a quasi-state of emergency on the capital Tokyo and its surrounding areas within the week, broadcaster FNN said on Monday, as Covid-19 cases rise.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday the capital would request such measures if the usage of beds set aside for Covid-19 patients climbed to 20%. The rate stood at 19.3% as of Sunday.
The highly infectious Omicron variant is driving a resurgence in coronavirus cases in Japan. New cases nationwide have exceeded 25,000 in the past two days, near record levels.
The government on Jan. 9 declared quasi-emergency measures in three regions that host US military facilities, after it appeared that Omicron outbreaks at the bases spilled into the surrounding communities. The measures include shortened operating hours for restaurants and bars.
It was the first imposition of such curbs since September, when Japan lifted emergency controls that had prevailed across the country for most of last year.
Koike said last week a full declaration of emergency in Tokyo would be called for if hospital bed usage rate rises to 50%.
Tokyo has allocated about 6,900 beds for coronavirus care, out of about 128,000 in total for the capital region.