Japan's coronavirus state of emergency extended

Japan's coronavirus state of emergency has been extended in many parts of the country, including Tokyo and Osaka, through the end of this month.

The extension came into force on Monday, in 19 out of the nation's 47 prefectures.

Miyagi and Okayama prefectures emerged from the state of emergency and joined six other prefectures in implementing quasi-emergency measures that will also continue through September 30.

The government plans to bolster the medical system through such steps as securing more hospital beds for coronavirus patients. It also aims to set up more facilities where COVID-19 patients can receive treatments, including oxygen administration.

The government will urge people to refrain from travel across prefectural borders as the next week has two national holidays.

Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi, who is in charge of the coronavirus response, appeared on Sunday in NHK's TV program.

He said daily counts of new infections have been falling, but the number of patients with serious symptoms remains above 2,000, which continues to put significant strain on the medical system.

Nishimura added more than 50 percent of Japan's population has received two shots of a coronavirus vaccine.

The central government plans to continue pushing vaccine rollouts and other anti-infection measures in cooperation with local governments, so it can lift the state of emergency at the end of this month as scheduled.