We know how the Wonder Festival Winter 2021 got canceled due to new COVID-19 limitations imposed by the central government. Now, Japan has further strengthened emergency measures to battle the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Japan expanded the coronavirus state of emergency for seven other prefectures, including Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Fukuoka, Gifu and Tochigi.
This state of emergency is currently affecting more than half of Japan’s population. It began in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba on Friday, January 8, and will last until Sunday, February 7.
This was an essential step taken by the Japanese government to ensure the citizens’ safety. A new variant of SARS-CoV-2 was discovered last month, and the cases have risen rapidly since then.
The above mentioned 11 affected prefectures approximately account for 80% of the country’s Covid-19 infections. The number of new infections has been rising particularly in large cities and it took just over three weeks to add 100,000 new cases.
Prime Minister Yoshide Suga himself stated that Japan will suspend fast-track entry exceptions for business visitors or others with residency permits, thereby entirely banning foreign visitors while the state of emergency is in place.
However, these enforced measures exclude foreigners with Japanese residency, who must quarantine themselves for 14 days.
The Japanese airlines have rapidly reduced the number of domestic flights in response to the expected slowdown in travel.
Meanwhile, Japan is aiming to start Covid-19 vaccinations as early as late February. These are tough times, and people need to act sensibly till the situation comes under control.
We sincerely hope that these measures are indispensable for turning the tide for the better and bringing back the joyful Japan we have all been missing.