Osaka seeks state of emergency as new Tokyo COVID-19 infections top 2,000

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Osaka and its surrounding prefectures asked Japan to expand a state of emergency to the western cities in an effort to contain the latest COVID-19 outbreak, while Tokyo's new daily infections keep above 2,000 cases on Saturday.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the country's economy minister, told media the situation in the western cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo was severe and the declaration of a wider state of emergency was being considered after a request from the cities' governors.

Japan declared a limited state of emergency in Tokyo and three prefectures neighbouring the capital on Thursday to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections, resisting calls from some medics for wider curbs due to the economic damage they would cause.

Tokyo reported 2,268 new daily coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to the public broadcaster NHK, the third straight day above 2,000.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Takaya Yamaguchi; Editing by William Mallard and Lincoln Feast.)