With less than five months to go before the Olympics, the state of emergency will be lifted on Sunday in six departments of Japan as the rate of coronavirus infections slows, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Friday (February 26).
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The measure will, however, remain in force at least until March 7 in four other departments, including greater Tokyo where the Olympics postponed to 2020 due to the pandemic are due to open on July 23.
According to Suga, the state of emergency, declared in early January over part of Japan, has reduced the number of new infections.
Taking into account this and the conditions in various regions, I decided to lift the state of emergency on February 28 in six departments
For greater Tokyo, the number of new cases of infection is dropping.
But the medical system continues to encounter difficulties
", added the Prime Minister, who wants to"
"on reducing the opening hours of restaurants to be able to lift the state of emergency"
in its entirety on March 7
The state of emergency, declared in the midst of an upsurge in the number of Covid-19 cases in Japan, is less strict than the containment measures in force elsewhere in the world and mainly provides for the closure of bars and restaurants at 8:00 p.m.
Japan has adopted less stringent measures than in other countries, but in early February Parliament passed provisions including fines for businesses that do not close at recommended times.
The approach of Japanese authorities since the state of emergency appears to have yielded results, with new infections falling across the country in recent weeks.
Despite the recent spike in cases in December-January, Japan has experienced a relatively small Covid-19 epidemic, with fewer than 7,800 officially recorded deaths since January 2020. Japan launched its vaccination program last week and has so far here administered the first doses to about 22,000 medical workers.
The health situation in Japan is closely monitored by the organizers of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
They have already announced very strict measures which, according to them, will ensure the safety of the Olympics, even without requiring that participants be vaccinated or quarantined upon arrival.
But the public and Japanese experts fear that these precautions will not be enough for a planetary event of this magnitude.