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TOKYO (MNI)

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday said the government will consider declaring a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures following surging coronavirus infections although he declined to comment on the timing and ruled out strict lockdowns.

"The current situation is very severe," Suga said, adding that the government may consider limited or concentrated measures and "restrict risks of the coronavirus spreading through eating and drinking services."

Suga said the emergency, if introduced, will make it difficult to resume the "Go To Travel" campaign aimed at boosting the tourism and hospitality sectors as scheduled on Jan. 12. The government plans to start vaccinations from late February.