Japan to lift emergency COVID-19 curbs, but gradually | Inquirer News

Japan to lift emergency COVID-19 curbs, but gradually

/ 10:04 PM September 28, 2021

Japan to lift emergency COVID-19 curbs, but gradually

Commuters wearing face masks arrive at Shinagawa Station at the start of the working day amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2021.REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

TOKYO Japan will lift a coronavirus state of emergency in all regions on Thursday for the first time in nearly six months, as the number of new cases and deaths falls and the strain on the medical system eases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.

Daily cases have fallen nationwide from more than 25,000 last month to 1,128 on Monday, but the opening will be gradual with some curbs on restaurants and large-scale events staying in place for about a month.


The government will introduce a certification system whereby only approved restaurants can stay open until 9 p.m and a ban on serving alcohol will be lifted everywhere unless local governors object.


“Thanks to progress in vaccination and administration of neutralizing antibody drugs, we are entering a phase where medical services can be offered in a stable manner even if a certain degree of infections take place,” Suga told a coronavirus task force meeting.

Japan has largely avoided explosive outbreaks seen in countries like the United States and India although it fared poorly by East Asian standards with about 1.7 million cases and just over 17,500 deaths.

The Delta variant sparked the fifth wave of infections in Japan that drove infections to record levels last month, putting so much strain on hospitals that some patients ended up dying at home without receiving care.

To prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, the government extended emergency restrictions covering about 80% of the population until the end of September, resulting in the Tokyo Olympics being held without spectators this summer.

The emergency will be lifted shortly after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) picks its new chief, who will replace Suga as premier thanks to its parliamentary majority.

Suga decided not to run in the election after his approval ratings tanked due to his handling of the pandemic.


Initially criticized for its sluggish vaccination rollout, his administration in the last month has caught up with many developed economies. Now nearly 60% of the population is fully vaccinated and the government has said all those who want shots will have had them by November.

Earlier in the day, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura explained the gradual approach to reopening, saying that “new cases will undoubtedly rise” after the emergency is lifted.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“We need to continue with the necessary measures to prevent a rebound,” he said. He added that if cases surged again, reinstatement of a more limited “quasi emergency” was also an option.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.

TAGS: COVID-19, Health, Japan, Virus

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.