A man walks along a corridor past an official Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics advertisement board in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo on November 30, 2020. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
Olympic prep continues in Tokyo despite rumors of cancellation
03:32 - Source: CNN
Tokyo CNN  — 

Japan will expand its state of emergency to seven more prefectures and ban all foreign nationals from entering the country, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday.

The country reported 4,527 new cases and 51 deaths Tuesday, bringing the national total to almost 300,000, with a death toll of 4,158. More than 61,500 patients are in hospitals across the country, which have been struggling to deal with a spike in cases brought on in part by freezing winter temperatures.

Tokyo, previously among the worst hit areas, reported 970 new cases Tuesday, the first time the Japanese capital’s daily tally has dropped below 1,000 in over a week. The total number of confirmed cases in Tokyo now stands at 77,133.

A state of emergency was previously declared for Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa last week, to be in place until February 7.

Japanese officials are believed to be wary of introducing a full lockdown for fear of harming the economy.

The new announcement expands the order to Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu, Tochigi and Fukuoka, covering much of Japan’s main island of Honshu. Eleven prefectures in total are now under emergency measures.

The state of emergency orders companies to encourage their staff to work from home and reduce office populations by 70%. Residents of the affected areas are also urged to avoid non-essential outings and restaurants have to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and close by 8 p.m.

Sports and entertainment events in Japan are also requested to limit the number of attendees.

Suga also said the country will temporarily ban the entry of all foreign nationals into the country amid the country’s rise in Covid-19 cases, though he did not clarify when the ban would go into effect.

Suga asked for the public’s help after announcing the expanded measures Wednesday.

“I hope people to understand that this is an indispensable measure to improve this difficult situation. We will do everything we need to do. I apologize for the inconvenience caused your life with many restrictions, but we must overcome this,” he said at a news conference.

“I would like to ask for the cooperation of the people.”