Tokyo, 3 prefectures planning COVID-19 action

NHK has learned that Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures are preparing to put in place stricter measures from Friday through the end of this month to curb a surge in coronavirus cases.

While the central government is considering declaring a state of emergency in these areas, sources say Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa are making final arrangements to implement their own measures.

The sources say officials of those areas agree on the need to curb the movement of people ahead of the central government's declaration.

The measures reportedly include calling on residents to refrain from non-essential outings after 8 p.m. and requesting establishments that serve alcohol to close by 8 p.m.

Officials will consider implementing the measures ahead of schedule if the central government declares a state of emergency before Friday.

Tokyo and the three prefectures will also set respective goals to encourage companies to fully promote telework. They will ask public schools to provide lessons online as well as in the classroom, and to avoid activities such as singing in chorus.

The governors of Tokyo and the three prefectures will hold a teleconference on Monday night before they make a final decision.