3 prefectures begin month of stricter measures

Osaka and two other Japanese prefectures are strengthening measures to fight the coronavirus as case numbers continue to rise. The new rules come without a state of emergency, and are set to last one month.

This covers Osaka and Hyogo, in the west, and Miyagi, in the north. The prefectures are asking restaurants and bars in major cities to close by 8 p.m. and stop using karaoke machines. Customers who refuse to wear masks should be barred entry.

Osaka Prefecture has recently seen record-breaking daily tallies that far exceed cases in the capital. On Sunday, it confirmed 593 new cases.

Neighboring Hyogo Prefecture confirmed 211 cases, meeting a record it set last week.

Many governors are concerned -- both about the spread of more contagious variant strains and the effect of anti-virus measures on local businesses. They're calling on the central government to provide emergency financial relief.

Across the country, more than 2,400 cases were reported on Sunday. As for the situation in hospitals, over 430 people remain in serious condition.