Japan will on Tuesday extend the state of emergency for regions continuing to see a high number of coronavirus infections, government sources said Monday, as hospitals remain under pressure despite a decline in cases from their peaks.

The government was to decide on the extension after a meeting of its experts panel earlier in the day.

Last month, the government declared a one-month state of emergency, due to end Sunday, for 11 areas, including Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures, as part of measures to rein in the pandemic. The government may also consider lifting the state of emergency in some less-populated areas such as Tochigi Prefecture, which has seen a decline in cases, local media said. The measures could be extended until March 7, the Sankei daily said, citing multiple government sources.

The emergency has helped halt a rapid acceleration of virus cases, which hit records in early January and raised worries of ripping through the developed world’s oldest population. While infection numbers have dropped since then, the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said they are still worryingly high.

But support for his administration has weakened over unhappiness with its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which critics have called too slow and inconsistent.


Source: Kyodo, Bloomberg