TOKYO: The Japanese government plans to extend a state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures to combat COVID-19 until March 21, two weeks longer than originally scheduled, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday.
Nishimura, who is in charge of the government's coronavirus response, made the comment at the start of an early-morning meeting with advisers to seek approval for the move.
Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures, which make up 30% of the country's population, sought the extension past the originally scheduled end date of March 7 as new coronavirus cases had not fallen enough to meet targets.
Still, new case numbers are at a fraction of their peak in early January, when the state of emergency took effect. Tokyo reported 279 cases on Thursday, compared with a record high 2,520 on Jan. 7
Nationwide, Japan has recorded some 433,000 cases and 8,050 deaths from COVID-19 as of Wednesday.- Reuters