Japan to end state of emergency for six prefectures this month


  • World
  • Friday, 26 Feb 2021

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians wearing protective masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make their way in Tokyo, Japan, February 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese government said on Friday it would end a state of emergency in six prefectures at the end of this month, a week earlier than scheduled, as new coronavirus cases decline.

Tokyo and three other prefectures would remain under the restrictions until early March, it added.

Japan had placed 11 of its 47 prefectures under a state of emergency in January as a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation. One of those prefectures, Tochigi, has already emerged early from the restrictions.

"Even after the removal in the six prefectures, we will continue to respond (to the virus) with vigilance," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said, adding the government would implement new policies in March to test new strains of the virus more quickly.

Emergency coronavirus measures will now be removed in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu and Fukuoka prefectures on Feb. 28, Suga said.

But, Tokyo and its three neighbouring prefectures will remain under the state of emergency until March 7, he added, repeating calls for the public to avoid group meals.

Under emergency measures, Japan asked bars and restaurants to close by 8 p.m. (1100 GMT) and companies to strive for more telecommuting. It also suspended a popular "Go To Travel" subsidised domestic tourism programme.

Coronavirus infections have fallen significantly since peaking in early January, including in the capital, Tokyo, which is due to host the Summer Olympic Games from late July.

There were concerns that lifting the state of emergency could see young people in particular become complacent, leading to a potential rise in infections, said Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who oversees the government's coronavirus response.

"We need to keep strict anti-infection measures in place," aid Nishimura.

Japan has recorded about 427,000 coronavirus cases and 7,720 deaths as of Thursday, according to the health ministry.

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Yoshifumi Takemoto, Ju-min Park; Editing by Gerry Doyle, Stephen Coates, Shri Navaratnam and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Ukraine's Zelenskiy named Time's 2022 'Person of the Year'
Explainer-What's driving Haiti's humanitarian crisis?
Violence in South Sudan's Upper Nile displaces 9,000 -U.N. agencies
Migrants flee plane forced to land in Spain by fake childbirth emergency
Pope compares Ukrainian suffering to WWII Nazi death operation
Russian forces killed hundreds of civilians early in Ukraine war -UN report
Sister of Iran's leader condemns his rule, urges Guards to disarm - letter
More than 150 Rohingya stranded on leaking boat off Thai coast, NGO says
Opinion: Could air-gapping stop SMS and email scams?
Japan ruling party policy chief: Won't rule out any options for funding defence boost

Others Also Read