THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
January 20, 2021 at 13:21 JST
NAHA--Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki on Jan. 19 declared the third state of emergency for the southern island prefecture, saying lifestyle changes are necessary to halt the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases.
The measure will be in place from Jan. 20 through Feb. 7.
“The health care system is on the verge of collapse,” Tamaki said on Jan. 19, after the prefecture confirmed 113 new novel coronavirus infections. “All residents need to change their behavior.”
The prefectural government is currently asking bars, restaurants and other businesses in seven cities to close by 10 p.m. It will extend the request to cover all similar establishments across Okinawa Prefecture and urge them to move up their closing time to 8 p.m. from Jan. 22 to Feb. 7.
Businesses that comply with the new request for shortened operating hours can each receive 40,000 yen ($385) a day as financial support.
To gain aid, the prefecture will ask the central government to include it in the state of emergency that currently covers 11 prefectures, or designate Okinawa Prefecture as an area that requires measures equivalent to the emergency declaration.
Okinawa prefectural authorities are urging residents and visitors from other prefectures to refrain from going out and avoid nonessential travel between Okinawa and areas under the central government’s state of emergency.
The prefectural government is also asking professional sports teams, including baseball clubs, to bar spectators from training camps in the prefecture.
Okinawa previously issued a state of emergency for April to May and another one from August to September.
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