The government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to place more prefectures under a COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency as the number of cases continues surging, government sources said Sunday.
The decision, likely to be formalized Tuesday, may see 32 of the nation's 47 prefectures under restrictions, such as shortened hours at restaurants and bars. While the measures are already in place in 16 prefectures including Tokyo, 16 more prefectures, including Hokkaido, Kyoto and Osaka, have requested or plan to request the inclusion of their regions.
On Sunday, Japan's confirmed daily coronavirus cases reached more than 50,000, the second largest on record after some 54,500 logged Saturday.
In Tokyo, the number of people recuperating at home after being infected with the virus rose to 26,556, a record high. Newly confirmed daily cases came to 9,468, down from Saturday's all-time high of more than 11,000 but still the largest for any Sunday.
Tokyo and 12 other prefectures were added to regions subject to the quasi-emergency measures on Friday after three prefectures -- Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Okinawa -- were placed under the measures from Jan. 9 following a spike in infections that local officials linked to nearby U.S. military bases.
The restrictions were scheduled to last until the end of this month in the three prefectures, but the government is considering extending the period, the sources said.
The COVID-19 restrictions are slated to be in place until Feb. 13 in Tokyo and the 12 prefectures, including Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Nagasaki and Kumamoto.
Japan has seen rapid increases in the number of virus cases since the country confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant on Nov. 30. The number of cases increased 100 times in three weeks since the start of this year, rising to 54,576 cases on Saturday from 534 logged on Jan. 1.