Japan is considering extending the COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency once again for Tokyo and nine prefectures beyond the scheduled end date of March 6, government sources said Sunday.

With more than half of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients continuing to be filled in those areas, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will ask prefectural governors about local pandemic situations and consult with health experts before making a decision on the extension by about two weeks, they said.

Earlier in the month, Kishida said his government may possibly lift the measures before March 6 if the pace of the Omicron variant's spread continued to slow.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (2nd from L) visits Tokyo's Haneda airport to inspect the workplace COVID-19 vaccination program on Feb. 12, 2022. (Kyodo) 

The quasi-emergency entailing restrictions on business hours of restaurants and bars and a request to refrain from nonessential travel between prefectures is currently in place in 31 of Japan's 47 prefectures through March 6.

In addition to Tokyo, the government is mulling an extension of the emergency measures for Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gifu, Aichi, Mie, Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures.

Of them, Tokyo and six prefectures had their emergency measure deadline pushed back from Feb. 13 to March 6 earlier in the month.

Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo were among 17 prefectures whose emergency measures had been extended from Feb. 27 to March 6.

On Sunday, over 63,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in Japan, down about 10 percent from a week earlier.

Related coverage:

Japan begins COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11

Japan seeks to further ease border controls as COVID 6th wave wanes

Japan extends COVID quasi-emergency in 17 prefs., ends it in 5 others