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Coronavirus

Japan's wider COVID emergency zone promises hospitals no relief

Tokyo and Osaka beds dwindle, while Google AI predicts 3.5-fold jump in deaths

A hospital in Yokohama, near Tokyo: Doctors and nurses are dealing with long hours and low morale as Japan's coronavirus surge strains the health system.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's hospitals are facing a capacity crunch with no end in sight, amid indications that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's coronavirus emergency measures may not go far enough to flatten the infection curve.

On Wednesday evening, Suga announced that another seven prefectures would come under a state of emergency through Feb. 7. The same measures imposed on Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures on Jan. 8 -- such as shortening restaurant hours and asking residents to stay home -- are being extended to other major cities including Osaka and Nagoya.

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