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(Update) Japan Decides to Put 3 More Prefectures under Virus Emergency

(Update) Japan Decides to Put 3 More Prefectures under Virus Emergency

   Tokyo, May 14 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government decided Friday to place the prefectures of Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima under a novel coronavirus state of emergency from Sunday through May 31.
   It also adopted a plan to put Gunma, Ishikawa and Kumamoto prefectures in the pre-emergency stage, which allows local authorities to take priority antivirus steps similar to those under the emergency, from Sunday to June 13. The state of emergency and the pre-emergency stage are based on the special measures law on the fight against the virus.
   As the reasons for the decisions, made at a meeting of the government's coronavirus response headquarters Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the number of new infection cases is "increasing at an extremely rapid pace," adding, "We took into account a call from experts for issuing a strong message." Still, he sounded cautious about expanding the state of emergency across the nation.
   On the country's COVID-19 vaccination program, the prime minister said that the government "will make efforts to inoculate all residents as soon as possible."
   As to a series of problems related to inoculations of elderly people, Suga said, "We're sorry for difficulties making reservations." He noted that the government will secure 100 million vaccine doses by the end of June.

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