Photo/Illutration Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura speaks in Osaka on March 26. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

OSAKA--Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said he plans to request a new designation that would let him take stricter measures to control novel coronavirus infections, saying “the fourth wave” has arrived in his prefecture. 

Yoshimura told reporters on March 29 that he intends to ask the central government to apply pre-emptive measures against the virus after his prefecture confirmed more than 300 new COVID-19 cases for three days in a row through March 28.

The measures, designed for a period before a state of emergency is put in place, were introduced under the revised special measures law that took effect in February.

The governor said he intends to require customers to wear a mask at restaurants and effectively ban entry of those not wearing one if the measures are applied to his prefecture.

He said a requirement based on a government ordinance is expected to be more effective than a simple request.

The designation would also allow governors to order restaurants to shorten business hours and impose administrative fines on noncompliant operators.

Osaka Prefecture confirmed 323 new COVID-19 cases on March 28, topping the 313 reported in Tokyo, the first time since Nov. 24 that its daily number of new patients surpassed the capital’s.