Japan's Okinawa Schools Close Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases

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  • TEMPO.COTokyo - Many schools in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa began temporarily closing Monday, June 7, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 among young people, the prefectural government said.

    According to the local government in Okinawa, the closures are applicable to the majority of high schools and junior high schools as there has been a surge in COVID-19 infections among younger people.

    Japan's southernmost prefecture is currently under a coronavirus state of emergency and the latest measure to tackle the spread of the virus involving closing schools will be effective through June 20.

    According to the prefectural government, of all 183 COVID-19 cases reported Sunday, teenagers and younger people comprised around 20 percent of the total.

    Okinawa confirmed 104 new daily COVID-19 cases, according to the latest figures released Monday evening, bringing the total to 18,603.

    This compares to 235 new infections reported in Tokyo and 173 in its neighboring prefecture of Kanagawa, figures from the health ministry and local authorities showed.

    Nationwide, Japan's total tally of infections since the outbreak of the virus reached 763,785, with 1,278 additional cases confirmed Monday.

    The death toll has now topped 13,600, Monday evening's figures showed.

    The southern subtropical island, a lure for vacationers, has seen a surge of infections of late, and has logged the highest number of new cases per capita among Japan's 47 prefectures.

    As such, Okinawa's medical facilities have been buckling under the strain, with some patients infected by the virus unable to secure a hospital bed and forced to self-quarantine at home, according to recent local accounts. 

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