Japan is considering lifting the COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency for 18 prefectures upon its expiration next week as the number of infections in those areas has been decreasing, a government source said Monday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government plans to make a final decision Wednesday on the possible lifting ahead of the emergency's expiration on March 21, the source said.

Officials hope the downward trend of daily coronavirus infection tallies will be enough for Tokyo, Osaka and 16 other prefectures to meet the government's criteria for lifting the emergency.