Japan to Extend Coronavirus Emergency for 2 Weeks

Politics

Tokyo, March 3 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government plans to extend its state of emergency over the novel coronavirus epidemic for two weeks until March 21, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday.

"I think that an extension of about two weeks is needed to protect the lives and livelihoods of citizens," Suga told reporters at the prime minister's office.

The government is expected to make a formal decision on Friday. The emergency, which covers Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, is currently slated to end on Sunday.

"Hospital beds are scarce, and some indicators show harsh situations," Suga said. "It is important that occupancy rates for hospital beds fall below 50 pct and that the vector points downward," he said.

Suga had previously aimed to lift the emergency on Sunday, but he changed course as the drop in new infection cases has slowed and medical systems remain in dire situations.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press