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Japanese PM ends COVID-19 state of emergency in three more prefectures

Japanese PM ends COVID-19 state of 
emergency in three more prefectures

DPA
Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday lifted a state of emergency in three western prefectures as increases in novel coronavirus cases appear to be slowing in the regions.  The government will end the emergency in the prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, while the measure would be kept in place in Tokyo, three neighbouring prefectures and Hokkaido, Abe said.
The premier however added the government could lift the emergency in those prefectures as early as Monday if the number of new cases continues to be on a downward trend.
Experts have agreed to the government’s move to end the emergency in the three western prefectures, Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters earlier in the day.
Even under the state of emergency in Tokyo, many people wearing face masks commute on public transportation while more shops and department stores have reopened.
In early April, Abe declared a one-month state of emergency for seven urban prefectures such as Tokyo and Osaka, requesting - not ordering - their residents to refrain from non-essential and non-urgent outings to prevent the spread of the virus.
A week later the emergency was expanded to the entire country. He then extended it to the end of May.  Japan has so far confirmed more than 17,000 cases, including 712 on a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo in February, and nearly 800 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

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