Photo/Illutration Saitama Governor Motohiro Ono on April 13 says he is considering asking the government for pre-emergency measures to battle the spread of COVID-19 in his prefecture. (Yuki Kawano)

The central government has started considering applying pre-emergency measures in Aichi and Saitama prefectures, the latest areas seeking help to control surges in new COVID-19 cases.

Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura on April 13 revealed his plan to ask the central government for the stronger measures to tackle the health crisis.

“Our medical care system has not been strained yet, but I would like to make a preventive response to the resurgence,” he said at a news conference.

Omura indicated that he would like to see the pre-emergency measures remain in his central Japan prefecture until the end of the Golden Week string of holidays in early May.

The central government will also hold talks with Saitama Prefecture, located immediately north of Tokyo, about the pre-emergency measures.

“The number of new patients infected with variant strains has jumped in the last few weeks, so I have no choice but to consider the pre-emergency measures,” Saitama Governor Motohiro Ono said at a news conference on April 13 after a meeting of health experts.

The pre-emergency measures are equivalent to those under a state of emergency, and they give governors more authority to ask businesses to shorten operating hours and accept other anti-virus restrictions.

The government for the first time applied the pre-emergency measures in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures starting on April 5. The measures were applied in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures on April 12.