The Japanese government is reported to be considering declaring a third state of emergency following a spike in coronavirus cases around Osaka and Tokyo.
Update 23 April – Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto prefectures will enter their third state of emergency of the pandemic on Sunday (25 Apr) and last until May 11.
Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko plans to make a formal request after the daily tally topped 800 in the capital and officials in Osaka Prefecture confirmed a record 1,242 new cases on Wednesday. Experts say more contagious variants are largely to blame.
Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says the central government will work closely with local officials and make a decision by the end of the week.
Across Japan more than 5,200 new infections were confirmed on Wednesday.
Additionally the Tokyo 2020 President has conceded a decision on whether Japanese fans can attend the Games will not now be made until June – fans from overseas have already been banned.
The athletics test event at the new National Stadium on May 9 will take place behind closed doors because of the rise in infections in the Tokyo area.