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Coronavirus

Japan Puts 2 Areas Under Virus Semi-Emergency

TOKYO — Japan has designated Osaka and two other areas for coronavirus control steps as infections in those areas rise ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Osaka, neighboring Hyogo and Miyagi in the north have had sharp increases in daily cases since early March. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga designated the three prefectures for pre-emergency status under a new intensive prevention law beginning Monday. The measure lasts until May 5.

Health experts have raised concerns about the burden on health care and Osaka’s rapid spike, with many cases linked to new variants of the virus from Britain.

Japan had scaled down its partial and non-binding state of emergency that began in January. It lifted the state of emergency in the Tokyo area on March 21, fully ending the measures aimed at slowing the coronavirus and relieving pressure on medical systems treating COVID-19 patients.

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