World

Tokyo governor wants Covid-19 state of emergency extended to May 31

TOKYO: Tokyo's governor asked the government yesterday to extend the Covid-19 state of emergency in the metropolis to May 31 as the situation is dire.

But a remote fishing town of Noto in central Japan dealt with the coronavirus somewhat differently - it built a giant squid.

More on that later.

In Tokyo, Governor Yuriko Koike said as mutant strains spread, more younger people are falling victim to the virus, fuelling concerns the current fourth surge could surpass the third wave in January,

"Based on the analyses from various angles, my thinking is that we need an extension of the state of emergency," she said.

The emergency which began on April 25 is due to end on Tuesday.

Tokyo added 591 cases and Osaka recorded 747 yesterday. About 10,500 people have died nationwide since the pandemic began.

Tokyo's neighbouring prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, which are under a "quasi-emergency" state of targeted restrictions, also sought an extension until the end of this month, while local media said a few others would join the list.

On the other end of the spectrum, Noto town used 27 million yen (S$330,000) of coronavirus relief funds to build its giant squid. The reason: to boost post-pandemic tourism as squids are a local delicacy.

"Tourism in our town has been badly damaged by the coronavirus. We wanted to do something to support the local industries," an official at the Noto town hall said yesterday.

Many people came to see the 13m monument this week during a series of public holidays, the official said.

But some people online were less delighted.

"This is too surreal. What is also unclear is why this qualified for the grant," one Twitter user wrote. - REUTERS, AFP

WORLD