• STAFF REPORT, KYODO

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Tokyo has met one of the criteria set for the state of emergency to be lifted, keeping its weekly total of new cases below 70 for the first time since the targets were proposed.

The Tokyo government said it had confirmed 11 new cases Thursday of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the weekly total to 59.

One of the targets proposed by a government panel of experts for lifting the emergency measures is whether the spread of infection has fallen below 0.5 new cases per 100,000 people over a seven day period. For Tokyo, with a population of roughly 14 million, that would mean that the number of people newly infected with the virus would have to be fewer than 70 in one week.

Still, the central government will likely to maintain the state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba, for a while, as they are being considered as a group and Kanagwa has not yet met the target.

The government is poised to decide whether to lift the state of emergency for three Kansai prefectures, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, later on Thursday, as number of new infections has remained low in each prefecture.

The number of new infections daily in Tokyo has also remained below 20 for a week.

Gov. Yuriko Koike has said that containing the number of daily infections below 20 is one of the criteria for easing the capital’s stay-home and business closure requests. Other conditions include keeping cases of infection through untraceable routes under half of the daily total, as well as limiting the number of patients with severe symptoms and the rate of positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

Including the new cases added Thursday, the total number people known to have been infected in Tokyo is now 5,086.

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