TOKYO: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato indicated on Monday a need to consider swiftly whether to declare another coronavirus state of emergency if asked to do so by Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture.
If the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Osaka prefectural government request that the central government declare a state of emergency again, the Japanese government “should consider (the requests) at once,” Kato said at a press conference.
The central government has been bolstering coronavirus measures in Tokyo and Osaka, which have seen sharp rises in the number of new coronavirus cases, after placing the Japanese capital and the western prefecture in the coronavirus pre-emergency stage.
Noting that the number of new coronavirus cases in Osaka has continued to rise, Kato said, “We are extremely concerned” about the situation.
The medical care system in Osaka is in an especially tough situation, Kato said.
He added that the central government is providing maximum support to reserve sufficient hospital beds for severely ill coronavirus patients, including urging medical institutions to increase the number of such beds.
“We need to watch (the coronavirus infection situation in Tokyo) carefully with a strong sense of caution,” Kato said.
“We will work closely together with Osaka and Tokyo to share our understanding on the infection situation and the state of the medical care systems and take appropriate measures,” he said.
On Osaka, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who leads the central government’s coronavirus response, told a meeting of the Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, that the government should not hesitate to declare a state of emergency if necessary.