Japan Lifts Coronavirus Emergency For Most Regions

15 Mai, 2020, 01:05 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

The decision comes as the number of new cases of infection has consistently fallen in 39 provinces, prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to say that the pandemic is "currently not spreading widely".

Tokyo, Osaka, and six urban prefectures will remain under the legislation, with the government assessing their status on May 21.

Thirty-nine out of Japan's 47 prefectures will lift their state of emergency, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday while the other eight prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, will remain under the state of emergency. This even includes prefectures under "special caution" due to large numbers of coronavirus cases: Fukuoka, Aichi (which includes Nagoya), Gifu, Ibaraki and Ishikawa.

The change means that the 39 prefectures can begin relaxing the social and economic restrictions caused by the state of emergency.

Health experts have been tasked to analyze the daily coronavirus data and the latest situation in the hospitals. Last week, the government extended the state of emergency to May 31.

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Abe then announced on April 16 that the national government expanded the state of emergency nationwide until May 6.

While Japan has avoided the kind of explosive growth seen in the United States and elsewhere, its testing has also been among the lowest, at 188 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests per 100,000 people, versus 3,159 in Italy and 3,044 in Germany.

Prefectural governors have been asking people to stay at home and businesses to close temporarily, using authority to make such requests granted under the emergency declaration. The requests are voluntary and no penalties are imposed for noncompliance.

But the metropolitan government has said it will maintain its business suspension request until May 31, when the current state of emergency is slated to expire.

Japan has reported 16,100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, excluding those from a cruise ship previously quarantined in Yokohama, and 696 deaths to date from the disease it causes, Covid-19, according to public broadcaster NHK.

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