Photo/Illutration Hyogo Governor Toshizo Ido holds a news conference concerning the third state of emergency on April 21. (Ryo Takeda)

KOBE--Governor Toshizo Ido of Hyogo Prefecture signaled May 5 he will seek an extension to the 17-day state of emergency for the novel coronavirus pandemic that is set to expire May 11.

“Under the current infection situation, the tight situation at our hospitals will not be corrected,” Ido told reporters. “There is a high probability I will have to ask the central government to extend the state of emergency.”

Ido’s comment came a day after Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said emergency curbs for his jurisdiction neighboring Hyogo would have to be extended.

A final decision in Hyogo will likely be made on May 7 at a meeting of the prefectural government’s task force handling the pandemic.

A third state of emergency took effect April 25, but Ido said it was too early to assess the effects of the measures since 14 days had not yet passed.

“I believe maintaining the measures now in place will be most effective because if they are lifted (too quickly), people might get the wrong impression that the situation is improving,” Ido said.

He added that he would consult with his counterparts in Osaka and Kyoto to ensure that similar steps are in place for all three prefectures.

The Hyogo prefectural government reported 331 new COVID-19 cases on May 5 and 13 deaths.

The ratio of hospital beds set aside for COVID-19 patients and currently in use hovers around 79 percent. There were 1,750 patients waiting to enter hospitals for treatment.