It was once seen as something of a success story – a city that worked to contain, trace and isolate the virus – leading to a huge drop in numbers. But Hokkaido is in the spotlight again as it struggles to deal with a second wave of infections.
In late February, Hokkaido became the first place in Japan to declare a state of emergency due to Covid-19.
Schools were closed, large-scale gatherings cancelled and people “encouraged” to stay at home. The local government pursued the virus with determination – aggressively tracing and isolating anyone who’d had contact with victims.
The policy worked and by mid-March the number of new cases had fallen back to one or two a day. On 19 March the state of emergency was lifted, and at the beginning of April, schools re-opened.
But now, just 26 days after the state of emergency was lifted, a new one has had to be imposed.