- Japan’s fifth state of COVID-19 emergency has been by far the longest one through the pandemic.
- Japanese Prime Minister said that his government will make a formal decision on Tuesday evening.
- COVID-19 state of emergency is currently covering Tokyo and 18 prefectures throughout the country.
The government of Japan is expected not to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency covering Tokyo and 18 prefectures throughout the country when it expires at the end of September, government news sources said Monday.
The nation’s fifth state of emergency, which was first declared in four prefectures in April, has been by far its longest. It was expanded to 25 additional prefectures before it was lifted in June in all but Okinawa. The order was handed down again in Tokyo in July, however, after a resurgence began to emerge in the capital during late June.
The country’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters that his government will make a formal decision on Tuesday evening following discussions with infectious disease experts from the central government’s coronavirus subcommittee.
However, Suga added that it is necessary to ease COVID-19 restrictions gradually.
If Japan’s state of emergency, currently active in 19 prefectures, is lifted completely, it will be the first time since early April that no prefectures are under government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions.
So far, none of the 19 prefectures have asked for an extension of the emergency.
Japanese government however is reportedly considering allowing governors to implement COVID-19 countermeasures for the month after the existing restrictions expire.
“It seems the government will be able to lift the emergency as planned at the end of the month,” health minister Norihisa Tamura said during a television program on Sunday.
While new cases are declining, Tamura warned the public not to let their guard down for fear of causing a winter rebound. He added that various restrictions, including reduced business hours for restaurants and bars, should be relaxed gradually, and that officials should bolster health care capacity — by establishing additional facilities for overflow patients and procuring medical personnel, among other things — in preparation for the next outbreak.
Last week, Japan‘s vaccine czar Taro Kono announced the country will begin administering COVID-19 booster shots to medical personnel by year-end, and to older residents in the new year.
As of Monday, about 52% of the population of Japan had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.