On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he would lift restrictions on 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures. Areas such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido however, will remain under a state of emergency.
Japan has seen new coronavirus cases decreasing after a month of a nationwide state of emergency. The emergency declaration allows state governments to urge people to stay inside, but without disciplinary measures or legal force.
Next week, Abe will review the 39 prefectures and decide on whether the restrictions can be lifted before the end of the month. If extended, it would mark a second extension with the first emergency declaration only intended to last until May 7.
Abe urged the population to remain vigilant in the event that the emergency declaration is lifted. This includes, avoiding crowds, wearing masks in public and to avoid poorly ventilated places, such as nightclubs.
“We will have to create a new model in daily life from now on, and today is the start of that.” Abe also added that if there is an increase in new cases after the state of emergency is lifted, Japan may need to “ … resort to a second declaration of a state of emergency.”
Japan has recorded a total of 16,120 confirmed cases and 697 deaths from the deadly virus. However, the Asian nation is still only testing a tiny percentage of the population.
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