Japan to Decide on Partial Lifting of COVID-19 Emergency on Thursday

TOKYO – The Japanese government will announce Thursday its decision on whether to lift a state of emergency in most Japanese prefectures over the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We will ask the experts to look at different regions in terms of the number of infections and the healthcare system. There will be a thorough analysis for evaluation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference Tuesday, adding that “based on what the experts have to say, if we consider possible, then we will lift the state of emergency before the end of May.”

The announcement will be made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after meeting and consulting with a panel of experts.

Abe declared the extension of the nationwide state of emergency last week to May 31, but said that panel experts will review the situation on May 14 and possibly end it earlier for some prefectures.

According to Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, the government is eyeing lifting the state of emergency declaration in many of the 34 out of the country’s 47 prefectures that have reported no new infections over the past days.

Tokyo and Osaka belong to the remaining 13 prefectures designated as special alert areas” due to their large number of infections.

As of yesterday, the Japanese capital has reported the most cases of COVID-19 infections at 4,987. The total number of cases in the country stood at 16,049 with 691 deaths. - Words by Florenda Corpuz, Photograph by Din Eugenio