Japanese advisory body to approve COVID curbs for most of country

Japan reported more than 44,000 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

Japanese man passes closed shop during pandemic
Japan is set to introduce new restrictions to curb the Omicron variant [File: Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg] (Bloomberg)

A Japanese advisory panel is set to approve the expansion of tougher measures against COVID-19 to 18 additional regions on Tuesday, putting more than 70 percent of the country under restrictions.

The western prefectures of Osaka and Kyoto are among the areas covered by the measures, taken in response to a surge of infections and hospitalisation driven by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Japan logged more than 44,000 new cases on Monday, a tally by public broadcaster NHK showed.

The curbs will be enforced from Thursday through February 20, and governors in those regions can request restaurants and bars to shorten business hours and stop serving alcohol.

The advisory panel is also expected to greenlight an extension through February 20 of the so-called quasi-emergency measures prevailing in three regions.

A government task force led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to formally approve those decisions on Tuesday evening.

Source: Reuters