Lifting state of emergency seen as difficult

NHK -- Jan 30
There is a growing view within the Japanese government that a state of emergency covering 11 prefectures may have to continue beyond the planned end date in some areas.

The measure was initially declared for the Tokyo region in early January to curb a surge in coronavirus cases. It was later expanded to cover Osaka and other areas, and is set to run until February 7.

Daily infections have fallen over the past week compared to the previous week, but the medical system remains under strain.

Elderly people, who have higher risk of developing serious symptoms, make up a growing proportion of cases.

Health minister Tamura Norihisa says it's too early to be optimistic, despite the fact that new cases have recently declined.

The government plans to make a decision on whether to lift the state of emergency next week, after hearing from experts.

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