National

Tokyo reports 14 COVID-19 cases as eased restrictions loom

Kyodo, staff report

Tokyo reported fourteen new coronavirus infections on Sunday, just a day after the capital reported single-digit daily figures for two days in a row, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Meanwhile, the Chiba Prefectural Government said Sunday that no new cases had been reported there Sunday — meaning zero cases had been reported in the prefecture for three days in a row.

On Saturday, Tokyo reported two cases, the lowest single-day tally since Japan declared a state of emergency last month. Sunday’s numbers came a day ahead of a widely expected announcement by the government that it would lift restrictions on the capital and four other prefectures.

The number of new cases in Tokyo, which increased rapidly in late March and peaked in mid-April, has recently remained below the threshold set by the central government for imposing emergency measures.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 5,138 cases as of Saturday. It received reports of eight new coronavirus-related deaths Saturday, raising the total to 271.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to lift the state of emergency in Tokyo and Hokkaido, as well as Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures on Monday based on advice from experts.

Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of the pandemic response, told a news conference Saturday that “a favorable trend is continuing” in the five prefectures still under the state of emergency, ahead of the government’s meeting with a panel of experts Monday to decide whether to end their social and economic restriction requests.

He also announced plans to hold a survey among approximately 10,000 people nationwide on social and work practice changes in order to devise policies to encourage “new lifestyles” without the public lowering its guard against the virus.

Throughout Japan, 25 new cases of infection were reported Saturday, increasing the total number of confirmed cases to 17,243. The tally includes about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February.

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