Japan considers expanding state of emergency

Japan's government is considering expanding the coronavirus state of emergency.

That's in response to an urgent call from the governor of Okinawa as his prefecture struggles with its worst surge in cases.

Health officials reported a record 203 daily cases there on Wednesday.

Authorities in the southern prefecture have already requested restaurants and bars to close earlier, in the hopes of limiting outings.

Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny said, "Okinawa's weekly new cases per 100,000 people is at the same level compared with other prefectures under the state of emergency. I call on the central government to issue the declaration for Okinawa as soon as possible."

Nine prefectures are already under the state of emergency, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Hokkaido.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide's administration is now considering whether to expand the measures to Okinawa.

The situation is severe in other parts of the country too. The health ministry says 1,293 coronavirus patients are currently in serious condition. That's up 58 from the previous record logged on Tuesday.

Nationwide, more than 5,200 new infections have so far been reported on Wednesday, as well as 73 deaths.