Photo/Illutration Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike holds a video conference with the governors of three neighboring prefectures on Jan. 17. (Shin Kasahara)

Eight prefectures, including Tokyo, will ask the central government to place them under COVID-19 pre-emergency measures as they grapple with surging cases. 

Tokyo, as well as neighboring Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, on Jan. 17 decided to jointly ask the central government to apply the pre-emergency measures to the areas following a spike in cases of the Omicron variant.

Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura said his prefecture will make the request on Jan. 18, with neighboring Gifu and Mie prefectures expected to follow suit.

“It’s important for the three prefectures in Tokai to take measures against the coronavirus together,” Omura said during a video conference with the governors of Gifu and Mie on Jan. 17.

Omura added that the pre-emergency measures would continue for a month or so.

Aichi confirmed 1,153 new daily COVID-19 cases the same day, the fifth straight day the daily count has topped 1,000. As of Jan. 16, the prefecture had 215 patients hospitalized with the disease, filling up 18.2 percent of hospital beds. One patient was seriously ill, occupying 0.7 percent of the beds.

Miyazaki Governor Shunji Kono said on Jan. 16 that his prefecture intends to make arrangements with the central government to apply the pre-emergency measures to Miyakonojo and Mimata, where four cluster outbreaks have been reported at restaurants and other locations since Jan. 1.

The two municipalities confirmed 131.9 new cases per 100,000 people over the week through Jan. 15, far exceeding the figure for the entire prefecture at 49.9.