Japan to End COVID-19 State of Emergency in 6 Prefectures on February 28

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
State of emergency Tokyo area still planned to continue until March 7

The Japanese government announced on Friday that it will lift the state of emergency declaration due to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in six prefectures including Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka at the end of February. The state of emergency in four prefectures in the Tokyo area — including Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama — will continue until March 7 as previously planned.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is the minister in charge of COVID-19 response, stated, "We'll relax the restrictions in phases in order to avoid a new wave of infections."

About 40 prefectural governors met on Saturday to discuss measures to prevent a resurgence in cases. Several governors stated some restrictions will remain in place even after the state of emergency is lifted.

The Japanese government declared the current state of emergency in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba on January 8. The Japanese government expanded the state of emergency to seven more prefectures on January 13. The state of emergency was planned to end on February 7, but was extended until March 7 in Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Fukuoka, Gifu, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba prefectures. The state of emergency covers eight of Japan's 10 most populous prefectures and over half of the nation's population.

Japan started its COVID-19 vaccination plan on February 17, and is currently prioritizing medical workers. The second phase of the plan will start on April 12 to include elderly people.

Sources: NHK World (Kamata Tomoko) (link 2), The Mainichi

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