Japanese Health Minister Tamura Norihisa announced his readiness to lift the emergency regime in the country, as the situation with the coronavirus improves. The decision on this will be made upon the return of Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugi from the United States, he said on Friday, September 24, on the air of the NHK TV channel.
So far, 19 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, are under a state of emergency, which expires next Thursday. Tamura said the number of cases is falling sharply. And if this trend continues, the emergency regime may be canceled on September 30.
According to the minister, the decision to weaken antiviral measures in these areas should be taken by local authorities after monitoring the rate of occupancy of hospital beds and other indicators of the epidemiological situation.
The Delta strain triggered the fifth wave of COVID-19 in Japan. This led to a record number of cases. To prevent overcrowding in hospitals, the government extended the emergency regime until the end of September, affecting up to 80% of the country’s population. Tokyo’s daily new cases have dropped to about 550 in recent days, a tenth of last month’s peak.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on August 17 that the country was in crisis with the spread of COVID-19. The government has extended the emergency regime until September 12 in six prefectures, including Tokyo, and has introduced enhanced measures to contain the spread of the virus in 10 more prefectures.
Later, the emergency mode was extended until the end of September. The tough government measures since spring have caused discontent among the Japanese. A record share of the Japanese population – 65% – opposed the restrictive measures. This negatively affected the rating of Prime Minister Sugi, it was steadily decreasing. At the end of September, the politician decided to resign.