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Osaka to ask for lifting of COVID-19 state of emergency at end of February

A medical professional, left, receives a coronavirus vaccination at Osaka National Hospital in the city of Osaka's Chuo Ward on Feb. 19, 2021. (Mainichi/Takao Kitamura)

OSAKA -- The Osaka Prefectural Government has decided to coordinate with the neighboring prefectures of Kyoto and Hyogo to request that the national government lift the state of emergency over the coronavirus for the three western Japan prefectures at the end of February.

    The decision was made during the Osaka government's coronavirus task force meeting on Feb. 19. Officials at the meeting confirmed that Osaka Prefecture will make a concerted request with Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures if it is to ask for an early lifting of the state of emergency before the official expiration date currently set at March 7.

    Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura will consult with his counterparts in Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures over the matter by the end of next week.

    With regard to possible changes to requests for restaurants and bars to shorten their operating hours in the event that the state of emergency is lifted earlier than originally scheduled, Gov. Yoshimura indicated that he would scale down areas subject to those requests from the entire prefecture to only the entertainment quarters in the city of Osaka, and also extend their closing time by an hour to 9 p.m.

    (Japanese original by Yumi Shibamura and Masaki Ishikawa, Osaka City News Department)

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