Life in isolation has lasted longer than expected for the millions in Japan who remain patiently homebound, alone or with family, in the name of fighting the novel coronavirus.

For many, the most pressing question is when the state of emergency slated to expire on Wednesday will actually be lifted. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly told the Liberal Democratic Party’s secretary-general, Toshihiro Nikai, that he plans to extend the measure, and the government is thought to be considering lengthening it by about a month.

Even if the declaration is lifted, the threat of a second wave will persist after society reopens and it could take months, if not years, for a vaccine to be developed and mass produced.