Japan extended, on Friday, a state of emergency to four more areas in addition to Tokyo and Okinawa as COVID-19 cases spike in the capital, overshadowing the Summer Games.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government affirmed that the measures will be in effect from next Monday through Aug. 31.
The measures will covers the areas of Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba and Osaka, according to the Associated Press.
Notably, the restrictions include an alcohol ban and restricted hours at restaurants and karaoke bars. Five other areas, including Kyoto, will be placed under less strict restrictions.
The state of emergency comes as Tokyo set an all-time high for new virus cases Wednesday, with more than 3,000 reported. It received approval from experts in infectious diseases and other fields earlier in the day.
“Novel coronavirus infections are spreading in the Tokyo metropolitan area as well as the Kansai region (in western Japan) at an unprecedented speed,” Suga said at the end of a task force meeting.
In the same page, officials said 2,995 people are hospitalized in Tokyo, accounting for almost half the current capacity of 6,000 beds, according to the AP.
Despite the surge in new cases, experts and leaders have continued to argue that there is no evidence indicating that participants in the Olympics have spread the virus to the public.
“I don’t think there have been any cases related to the Olympic Games,” Taro Kono, Japan’s vaccine minister, told the AP Wednesday. “We aren’t worried about that issue.”
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike noted that young people account for much of the spike in recent cases and implored them to “share the sense of crisis” by adhering to public safety measures and getting vaccinated.
As of Friday, Japan has vaccinated roughly 32.7 percent of the country’s population.