Japan Nearing Threshold to Lift COVID-19 Emergency: Min.

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Tokyo, Sept. 24 (Jiji Press)--Most of the areas in Japan under the state of emergency over the novel coronavirus pandemic will reach a threshold that would allow the emergency to be lifted, if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to fall, health minister Norihisa Tamura said Friday.

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

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

"Obviously, we must also hear what prefectural governments have to say" on whether to switch to the pre-emergency designation from the state of emergency, Tamura said.

"We are watching closely how the current downward trend (in COVID-19 infections) will develop," he added, suggesting that the government will make a careful decision while taking into consideration the hospital bed occupancy rate and the share of COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospital.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press