Ten prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka will remain under a state of emergency due to COVID-19 through March 7, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Tuesday, in continued efforts to contain the recent surge of infections to a level at which restrictions on economic activities can be lifted.

The current state of emergency is in effect across 11 areas — Tokyo and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Tochigi, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Gifu and Fukuoka. The government removed Tochigi from the list after seeing numbers of new COVID-19 patients falling in the northern Kanto prefecture.

"On Jan. 7 this year we issued a state of emergency, and the central government and each prefecture have implemented measures together with cooperation from the people," Suga said in a Lower House committee Tuesday afternoon. "As a result, the number of new COVID-19 patients nationwide is heading downward, but we need to continue this trend and decrease the number of people in hospitals and that of patients in serious conditions as well."