Day one in Okinawa under COVID state of emergency

In Okinawa, many businesses in normally busy shopping districts are closed after the prefecture was included in the coronavirus state of emergency.

The prefecture is dealing with a runaway outbreak, with the number of new cases hitting a record high of 231 on Saturday. The daily tally has set new records two days in a row.

Okinawa is under the state of emergency from Sunday through June 20. Dining establishments serving alcohol are asked to temporarily suspend operations, and public facilities are shut down during the period.

The Kokusai-dori shopping district in the city of Naha looked deserted on Sunday, as many businesses pulled down their shutters. On a normal Sunday, the area is bustling with tourists.

A resident in his 50s said there were some people in the district on Saturday, but all are gone after the state of emergency took effect. He said the sight sent a chill down his spine and he criticized the government for acting too slowly.

Another resident said he feels sorry for restaurant and pub owners. He said a friend of his in the industry has declared bankruptcy.

The prefectural officials say they will do all they can during the period to bring the outbreak under control.