Japan approaches threshold to lift COVID-19 emergency, government minister says

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Most areas of Japan under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic will reach a threshold that would lift the emergency, if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline, the minister said on Friday. of Health Norihisa Tamura.

At a press conference, Tamura suggested that the central government was discussing the possibility of completely lifting the state of emergency currently covering Tokyo and 18 prefectures, which is due to expire on Thursday.

Noting that the weekly average of new coronavirus cases in the country has fallen by about half from the previous week, he said the government will consult with experts in the matter and make a final decision after the Prime Minister returns. Yoshihide Suga from his trip to the United States. States on Sunday.

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“Obviously, we also need to hear what prefectural governments have to say” about whether to move from state of emergency to pre-emergency designation, Tamura said.

“We are closely monitoring the development of the current downward trend (of COVID-19 infections),” he added, suggesting that the government will take a cautious decision while taking into account the occupancy rate of the hospital beds and from patients with COVID-19. be admitted to hospital.

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Meanwhile, Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, at a separate press conference on Friday, revealed that 13 prefectures, including Hokkaido, Osaka and Okinawa, have expressed their intention to participate in the central government’s trial for relax the restrictions on the activities of the population, following the progress. in coronavirus vaccinations.

“We are currently working with prefectural governments and companies, and we will strive to find a good balance between infection control measures and socio-economic activities when vaccination rates reach a certain level,” he said. declared.

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