Photo/Illutration The area close to Osaka Station is nearly empty of people on May 3. (Toyokazu Kosugi)

OSAKA--Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura signaled May 4 that Osaka Prefecture's state of emergency will have to be extended beyond the May 11 deadline as COVID-19 cases still remain high.

“My present understanding of the situation is that it would be difficult to relax the measures under the state of emergency or to lift it,” Yoshimura said.

Authorities in the western Japan prefecture confirmed 884 fresh cases of novel coronavirus infection on May 4, up from 847 the previous day, and 20 deaths from the disease. The latest fatalities bring the accumulative total for Osaka Prefecture to 1,552.

Speaking to reporters, Yoshimura said he will make a final decision either May 6 or 7 on whether to ask the central government to extend the state of emergency after consulting with the prefectural government’s panel of experts.

Osaka and three other prefectures came under a third state of emergency lasting 17 days from April 25. Prior to the curbs being declared, Yoshimura said it would be best if they remain in place for between three and four weeks.

He had earlier balked at requesting a third state of emergency.

The medical care situation in Osaka is at crisis point as almost all the beds the prefectural government has designated for patients with serious symptoms are filled and many serious patients are being treated at facilities designed for individuals with minor symptoms.