Japanese officials extended a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more districts on Wednesday as the country surpassed 300,000 total confirmed cases.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that the order would be extended to much of the country’s main island, specifically to Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu, Tochigi and Fukuoka prefectures, according to CNN.
In total, 11 districts are now under emergency orders, after one was previously declared for Tokyo and its three nearby prefectures: Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa, set to last until Feb. 7.
The emergency order instructs companies to urge employees to work from home with a goal of decreasing office populations by 70 percent. Residents in the district are told to not leave their homes for nonessential reasons, while restaurants will end alcohol service by 7 p.m. and close by 8 p.m.
"I hope people to understand that this is an indispensable measure to improve this difficult situation,” Suga said during a press conference, CNN reported. “We will do everything we need to do. I apologize for the inconvenience caused your life with many restrictions, but we must overcome this.”
“I would like to ask for the cooperation of the people,” he added.
Japan recorded 4,527 new COVID-19 cases and 51 fatalities on Tuesday, with more than 61,500 patients hospitalized due to the virus. Tokyo, which has been considered one of Japan’s hot spots, counted 970 cases on Tuesday, the first day with fewer than 1,000 new cases in more than a week, according to CNN.
The country has confirmed more than 304,000 cases and 4,059 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Like officials around the world, Japanese authorities are struggling to balance attempts to contain the virus with the economic impacts of locking down. The Olympics were supposed to be held in Tokyo last year but were postponed to this year due to the pandemic. The games are scheduled to start on July 23.