COVID-19 quasi-emergency measures ended Tuesday in all 18 prefectures they had covered, including Tokyo and Osaka, amid a decreasing trend in numbers of new infections.

The move marks the first time since Jan. 8 that the country has no emergency measures in place. But concerns remain that coronavirus cases could rise again due to the highly contagious omicron subvariant BA.2, with movements of people expected to increase significantly as the business and academic year ends in the coming days.

The government formally decided on Thursday to lift the quasi-emergency measures based on new criteria, including allowing such measures to end if the strain on the health care system is expected to ease despite infection numbers remaining at high levels.