Japan Lifts State Of Emergency In Most Prefectures

Japan Lifts State Of Emergency In Most Prefectures

May 15, 2020, 7:50 a.m.

Japan is lifting its state of emergency for about 80 percent of the prefectures ahead of schedule reports NHK.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said the government has decided to lift the state of emergency for 39 prefectures and to keep it in place for eight others.

Abe said his government will consider lifting the declaration for the rest of the country, including Tokyo and Osaka, as early as next week. The state of emergency is currently scheduled to be in effect until the end of the month.

At a news conference, Abe said experts and government officials made the decision to partially lift the declaration after assessing the number of recent infections, as well as the state of local medical and testing systems.

Abe said the government concluded that it was able to contain the spread of infection in the 39 prefectures to a level where further spread can be prevented by dealing with cluster infections.

He said the recent decline in the number of new infections in the country is the result of people's efforts to stay home and reduce human-to-human contact.

But he said many of those efforts need to remain in place.

Abe said that there is always a possibility of a second wave of infections. If the infection cases increase, the government may have to declare a state of emergency again. He said it is a challenge to prevent further infections, and at the same time to restore social and economic activities.

The prime minister thanked medical workers and pledged to boost testing capabilities. He said the government is also looking to ensure coronavirus patients have access to various treatment options.

Abe also said the government plans to roll out more emergency funds to protect jobs and support companies affected by the pandemic.

The latest move comes as more than 16,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus across Japan. Over 700 people have died.

Nearly a third of the cases in the country have been confirmed in Tokyo. 30 new infections were reported in the capital on Thursday. That marks the 12th day in a row that the figure has fallen below 100.

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