The government decided to lift the state of emergency imposed in response to the coronavirus in all but eight of the nation’s 47 prefectures, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces acute pressure to achieve a delicate balance — suppressing a resurgence of the virus while rekindling the faltering economy.
According to Abe, the country is showing signs of progress in the decrease of new patients and expanding testing infrastructure, but warned of the risks of flare-ups if restrictive measures are eased too abruptly.
Even in the regions where the emergency declaration was lifted, Abe asked residents to “gradually” take steps to return to everyday life, like avoiding nonurgent face-to-face meetings, embracing progressive changes in lifestyle like telecommuting and maintaining vigilance over the coronavirus.
“Today is the day we begin to reclaim our normality and embrace a new normal in the time of coronavirus. Even after the state of emergency was lifted … the coronavirus continues to exist for sure”, - the prime minister said.
Reflecting on the decrease in the number of new COVID-19 patients, the government has called off its emergency declaration in 39 prefectures. Residents are still asked to remain on alert and adopt what the government is calling a “new lifestyle,” including telecommuting and wearing masks.