Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has asked Japan's central government for permission to implement emergency measures to curb a surge in the city after 555 new cases of the virus were reported on Wednesday.
Tokyo is set to hold the Olympics in July this year. The virus is spreading rapidly. Tokyo follows Osaka, which declared a medical emergency after its hospitals became overwhelmed. Measures to mitigate the spread of the virus have already been imposed in Osaka— bars and restaurants in the urban areas have been asked to close down early.
Japan's vaccination drive is still in its early stage. Experts fear cases in Tokyo could rise at the same rate as did in Osaka. Less than 1 per cent of the population in Japan has received one dose of the vaccine. Koike has requested Tokyo residents to avoid non-essential trips, including those to other cities.