TOKYO (January 2): The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will later on Saturday call on the central government to declare a state of emergency following a surge in Covid-19 cases, local media reported.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will make the request during a meeting with Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is coordinating government measures to tackle the pandemic, the Nikkei newspaper said, citing multiple sources.
Reuters calls to the governor’s office went unanswered.
Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo, will make a similar request to the government on Saturday, national television station NHK reported.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has resisted calls for the restoration of a national state of emergency, which the government instituted in April during a previous wave of the pandemic.
It was based on voluntary business closures and travel restrictions rather than the kind of rigid lockdowns seen in parts of Europe and the United States.
Tokyo raised its Covid-19 alert level to its highest level on December 17 and asked restaurants and other businesses to close at 10 p.m. (1 p.m. GMT).
New Covid-19 infections in Tokyo hit a record high of 1,337 on December 31, and on Friday they were 783. A national record was also set on December 31 with 4,520 new cases.