Japan considers lifting COVID-19 state of emergency

Minister says infections ‘on downward trend across country’

TOKYO (AA) – Japan is eager to at least partially lift the COVID-19 state of emergency that covers 19 prefectures by the end of September, an official said on Tuesday.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the country’s virus management, told a news conference that COVID-19 cases “are on a downward trend across the country and indicators in Tokyo have significantly improved.”

Under the state of emergency, people have been urged to avoid going to crowded areas while restaurants are asked to close by 8 p.m. Attendance at large events is also limited to 5,000 or 50% of venue capacity.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce a final decision at a task force meeting next week.

The number of infections in Japan peaked at around 25,000 per day in August, but have steadily declined since then, with 1,758 new cases in the last 24 hours.

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