Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared an emergency for Tokyo and surrounding areas in wake of a huge spike in the number of cases in the region. Tokyo registered 2,447 cases just on Thursday and hospitals are operating at over 80 percent capacity.

Japan Times quoted Suga as saying, “I’m highly alarmed by the severe situation nationwide recently … as the number of patients has been extremely high.” He added, “I’ve decided to declare this state of emergency to prevent the virus from spreading at all cost and ensure the number of new cases is brought down.”

The emergency will continue till February 7 and be in effect in Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa apart from the national capital. People have been advised to stay at home after 8 PM, and all restaurants, pubs and cafes are to provide service only between 11 AM and 7 PM, and are to shut down at 8 PM. The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic.

Companies have been asked to encourage employees to work from home in a bid to reduce office populations by 70 percent. Schools and colleges will remain open, but have been asked to limit activities.

* Feature image by Fransisco Diez via Wikimedia Commons.