Japan lifts virus emergency in Tokyo and in all remaining areas

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining areas on Monday, ending the restrictions nationwide, news wires reported.

Experts on a government-commissioned panel approved the lifting of the emergency in Tokyo, neighboring Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, and in Hokkaido to the north, which had more cases and remained under the emergency declaration after it was removed in most of Japan earlier this month.

Abe said the lifting of the emergency does not mean the end of the outbreak. He said the goal is to balance preventive measure and the economy until vaccines and effective drugs become available.

Japan, with 16,600 cases and about 850 deaths, has so far avoided a large outbreak despite its softer restrictions.  But the world’s third largest economy is fallen into a recession, and public discontent over Abe’s handling of the coronavirus has sent his support ratings tumbling. Recent media surveys show public support for his Cabinet has plunged below 30%, the lowest since he returned to office in December 2012

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