As the government looks to decide Thursday whether to end the COVID-19 state of emergency covering the Tokyo metropolitan area as scheduled on Sunday, opinions are still divided among governors and experts over whether the situation has improved enough to lift the emergency.

While some in the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga are in favor of easing restrictions, there are lingering concerns over a resurgence in infections and the spread of more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus, government officials said.

Suga said during a parliamentary session on Monday that it was impossible to say just yet whether the state of emergency could be lifted for Tokyo and Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, stressing he would look at the latest data and consult with health experts before making a final decision.

Suga reiterated his stance on Tuesday, saying during a Diet debate that he needs to look at data such as the number of new cases and hospital beds availability before making a decision. "I need a little more time," he said.

Under the emergency, people are being urged to avoid leaving home unnecessarily, while restaurants and bars must close by 8 p.m. Businesses are encouraged to adopt remote working, while attendance at large-scale events such as concerts and sports games has been capped at 5,000.


Source: Japan Today