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Japan to end all COVID-19 states of emergency nationwide this week

Japan to end all COVID-19 states of emergency nationwide this week
Tokyo has been under a state of emergency for months, which was part of the reason why officials barred all spectators from the Summer Olympics in July. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Later this week, Japan will emerge from a persistent state of COVID-19 emergency for the first time in six months, government officials in Tokyo said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the lifting of the emergency nationwide will take effect on Thursday.

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The decision came as a result of slowing coronavirus transmissions in Japan, officials said.

When the emergency is lifted, it will be the first time since April that the entire country is free of an emergency declaration.

Suga also said that other restrictions related to the pandemic will slowly be lifted, due to declines in hospital occupancy rates and seriously ill patients.

"We need to assume the existence of the virus and prepare for the next wave," he said, according to Nikkei Asia.

Tokyo has been under a state of emergency for months, which was part of the reason why officials barred all spectators from the Summer Olympics in July.

There were about 1,100 new cases in Japan on Sunday, a significant decline from about 15,000 in early August. Nearly 60% of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated, according to government figures.

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Suga is in his final days as prime minister. A national election on Wednesday in the Liberal Democratic Party will determine who will take over the post.

Part of the reason for Suga's resignation is criticism he's received for his handling of the pandemic in Japan.

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