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Japan approves new restrictions for areas hard hit by COVID

TOKYO (AP) – Japan approved new restrictions yesterday to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the three most affected southwestern regions of Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima.

“Given the sudden surge in infections, the medical system runs the risk of suffering a heavy burden in the near future,” Minister in Charge of COVID-19 responses Daishiro Yamagiwa said at a government panel meeting.

The new measures include earlier closing hours for restaurants and restrictions on large-scale events.

Details on these measures, which will begin tomorrow and last through the end of the month, are decided at the local level and will likely vary.

Japan has undergone periods of similar restrictions over the past two years in various areas, including Tokyo.

The last order for restricted activity was lifted in September.

People cross a street in Hiroshima. PHOTO: AP