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Japan to end coronavirus state of emergency this week

Yoshihide Suga
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, speaks at a news conference with President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says the government plans to end it’s coronavirus state of emergency this week.

The announcement was made on Tuesday, stating that they will begin easing restrictions on Thursday “in order to resume daily lives despite the presence of the virus.”

The government also stated that they plan to create more temporary COVID-19 treatment facilities and continue vaccinations to help combat future resurgence of the virus.

“Our fight against the coronavirus is now entering a new phase,” Suga said. “Finally, we can see social and economic activities starting to normalize.”

This will be the first time Japan will be free of emergency requirements in more than six months. It’s current state of emergency, declared in April requires restaurants and bars to reduce their hours and not serve alcohol.

Eateries and other commercial establishments will now be able to gradually return to their normal hours. Bars and restaurants can start serving alcohol, but they are supposed to close by 9 p.m.

“Lifting of the emergency doesn’t mean we are 100% free,” Dr. Shigeru Omi, top medical adviser for the government, told reporters. “The government should send a clear message to the people that we can only relax gradually.”