Japan is set to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions for another month on Tuesday, seeking to keep the upper hand over a Covid-19 outbreak even as daily case numbers begin to edge down.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to formally announce the extension to March 7 later in the day following a recommendation from an expert coronavirus response panel.
According to Kato Katsunobu, “The number of new coronavirus cases is falling, but caution is still needed and hospitals remained full and the death rate had not fallen.”
The government last month imposed a one-month state of emergency for 11 areas, including Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures as well as the western city of Osaka, to combat the country’s third and most lethal coronavirus wave.
With Japan behind other nations rolling out vaccination programmes, the government has pledged to start inoculating medical workers at the end of February. NHK reported on Tuesday that approval for the Pfizer vaccine could come as early as February 12.