Japan's PM announces end to Covid-19 state of emergency

TOKYO: A coronavirus state of emergency targeting nightlife in Tokyo and other Japanese regions will end this week, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said yesterday, as cases nosedived nationwide.

The emergency measures, which largely limit alcohol sales, restaurant opening hours and crowd sizes at large events, have been in place for much of the year, including during the Olympics.

They are due to expire at the end of this month, and Mr Suga said there would be no extension because of Japan's improving virus situation.

"Thanks to everyone's hard work, the number of daily new infections, which was above 25,000 in mid-August, has come down to 1,128 people as of yesterday," he said at a ministerial meeting. "Hospital bed occupancy rates in all regions have come down below 50 per cent. The number of severely sick people peaked in early September and continues to fall."

Nineteen regions, including greater Tokyo, economic hubs Osaka and Aichi, and tourist hot spots Kyoto and Okinawa are currently under the emergency that ends on Friday. - AFP