In Japan, there has been a slight decrease in cases of Covid-19 but the health system is still under pressure, in view of which the government may extend an infection-related emergency in Tokyo and about 20 other regions until the end of September. The state of emergency was first declared in Okinawa in May following an increase in cases of Covid-19, which was later extended to other regions. The current emergency is set to end on Sunday.
The extension of the emergency means that the transfer of power in Japan will take place only in the middle of the emergency period. Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will not present his candidacy to lead the ruling party, whose election is due on September 29. His successor will be the next Prime Minister of the country. Suga has been criticized in the country for not acting quickly to deal with the COVID-19 global pandemic and holding the Olympics despite public health concerns.
Economy and Fiscal Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura proposed an extension of the emergency at a meeting on Thursday, saying serious cases were high and many hospitals were still full and thousands of patients were at home or in temporary facilities. Nishimura is also in charge of COVID-19 related measures. “We need to stabilize the health system and ensure that infections continue to drop and the additional burden on health care systems is reduced,” he said.
The extension of the emergency will be formally announced by evening on Thursday. Meanwhile, the government is looking at a draft for easing restrictions around November, by which time a large population is expected to be fully immunized. About 49 percent of the people in the country have been fully vaccinated. So far, about 16.5 lakh cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Japan and 16,500 people have died due to the infection.
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