Coronavirus News Asia

Japan extends state of emergency until May 31


Japan’s prime minister on Monday extended a state of emergency because of the coronavirus until the end of May, as the government warned it was too soon to lift restrictions.

“I will extend the period of the state of emergency I declared on April 7 until May 31. The area covered is all prefectures in the nation,” Shinzo Abe said after a meeting to discuss the measures.

Abe declared a month-long state of emergency that initially covered Tokyo and six other regions on April 7, later expanding it to cover the entire country.

It had been due to expire on Wednesday, but the country’s minister for the virus response, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said earlier that new infections were still growing.

“The number of new cases has declined, but unfortunately the decrease has not reached the targeted level,” he said during a meeting with an expert panel advising the government on the pandemic.

“As the healthcare sector remains under pressure, we need continued cooperation from people.”

Japan’s virus outbreak remains comparatively small compared to those seen in parts of Europe and the United States, with more than 15,000 infections recorded and 510 deaths.

Review in mid-May

But the extension was backed by both experts advising the government and regional governors, with concerns that a sudden spike in cases that would overwhelm healthcare systems remains possible.



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