Osaka to request extension of state of emergency

Osaka Prefecture in western Japan has decided to ask the central government to extend the prefecture's coronavirus state of emergency now set to expire at the end of May.

The prefecture's coronavirus taskforce made the decision in a meeting on Tuesday.

Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi said daily new infection cases are on a declining trend, but that a resurge would clearly lead to a crisis. He added that the prefecture's medical system continues to be overwhelmed.

In the meeting, officials reported that a daily average of around 400 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week.

They also said the occupancy rate of hospital beds for seriously ill patients is still high.

The officials said lifting the state of emergency amid the current situation in Osaka could again increase the number of new cases.

The state of emergency declared by the central government is in effect in 10 prefectures including the capital Tokyo, and set to expire at the end of May for all of them except Okinawa.