Japan Lifts Coronavirus State Of Emergency In Six Prefectures Outside Tokyo Region

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The Japanese Government has lifted the state of emergency outside the Tokyo region today as improvement of the infection situation and concerns about resurgence of COVID-19 cases slowly makes way to more optimism.

The state of emergency was lifted a week earlier than the planned March 7 expiry date, after the six prefectures met conditions for an early exit.

For now the four remaining prefectures Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama will await further signs of improvement until the emergency declaration either expires (six days from now) or will be ended early which is unlikely given the timeline.

As The Japan Times reported abut this today it seems however that at least in Japan the government has the Covid situation and restrictions their citizens under constant review.

The coronavirus state of emergency was lifted in six prefectures outside the Tokyo region on Monday amid signs of an improvement in the infection situation, as concerns about a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases lingers.

The state of eIt’s of course possibemergency was lifted in Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures a week earlier than the planned March 7 expiry date, after the six met conditions for an early exit.

The four remaining prefectures — Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama — will await further signs of improvement.

To exit the emergency, the situation in a prefecture must improve from Stage 4, the worst level on the government’s scale based on six key indicators, including the rate of change in new cases compared with the previous week and the availability of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.

The six prefectures will continue to request that restaurants and bars shorten their opening hours, but they will be allowed to close an hour later at 9 p.m.

The Osaka Prefectural Government narrowed the area covered by its early closure request from the whole of the prefecture to the city of Osaka. Neighboring Kyoto will take a similar step starting March 8, while Aichi, Gifu, Hyogo and Fukuoka are maintaining their prefecture-wide requests.

During the state of emergency, store operators that agreed to close by 8 p.m. received benefits of ¥60,000 per day. After the end of the emergency, operators will receive ¥40,000 in daily benefits, in principle, if they agree to close by 9 p.m. and ¥20,000 if they stay open after 9 p.m. but close earlier than usual. …

The partial lifting of the state of emergency comes as the central government is seeking to revive the economy, hit by plummeting household spending and the absence of foreign tourists.

A government advisory panel on the pandemic has pointed out that the number of older COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms remains high.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga initially declared a state of emergency for the Tokyo metropolitan area for one month to Feb. 7, before expanding it to a total of 11 prefectures. The declaration was later extended to March 7, with Tochigi removed from the list of prefectures covered.

The government will hold a meeting of its coronavirus task force, possibly on Friday, to determine whether the state of emergency can be entirely lifted on March 7.

It’s of course possible that the state of emergency will be extended as it has been done conveniently by other governments around the world but the Japanese constitution gives the government only limited powers in this regards and even the initial declaration has been very difficult.

The government can not force people into a lockdown as the constitution doesn’t give them any such power. They can only “strongly suggest” the population to take precautions. Life in Japan has been going on relatively normal even during this peridod since it was initially announced.

In the meanwhile the latest batch of BioNTech Covid vaccines (out of three) arrived in Japan today. This might contribute to a higher feeling of security among the Japanese government and population as a whole.

In the meanwhile the planning for the Tokyo 2020 (20201) Olympics still seems to be going strong considering the frequent updates on the Olympic social media pages and media outlets. I’m really curious if the games will really go ahead and in so in what form.

Conclusion

Japan has been doing very well overall although in the recent months infection cases have risen and that has causes a lot of chaos with the local medical services to the point of where people were no longer admitted into hospitals except for severe emergencies.

Those who got actually diagnosed with Covid like a friend of mine in Tokyo received rather nonsensical and insufficient support from the government including health services.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the state of emergency would actually end on March 7 as originally planned. There is very little patience or room to string this along endlessly in Japan to the likes as we see it in European countries.

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