The Japanese government is set to lift the state of emergency on some prefectures today while deciding whether to open a COVID-19 countermeasures headquarters.
Of the 13 prefectures under special alert which have been the epicenters of the coronavirus, the state of emergency will be lifted for Ibaraki, Gifu, Aichi, Ishikawa and Fukuoka, joining the 34 prefectures not under special alert.
Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka, Hyogo, Hokkaido and others will continue to be on a special alert, according to the Nikkei.
A meeting of experts will be held to analyze the state of the pandemic in all regions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will consult on the scope of the declaration with the committee and if it is deemed appropriate will make an announcement at a press conference this evening.
The declaration of a state of emergency is currently valid until 31 May for 47 prefectures but is expected to be lifted for 34 prefectures that are not on special alert.
The number of new infections has been falling in Japan in recent weeks and there is little concern over an explosion of new infections.
The government will review the scope of the declaration again on 21 May. Areas where numbers are decreasing will have the declaration lifted, and if numbers seem to be increasing, the declaration can be reinstated.
The criteria for lifting the declaration in some prefectures today will include the situation of infection, healthcare infrastructure, and testing infrastructure including PCR tests.
The judgement will be made comprehensively based on these three points. The standard for lifting the declaration will be “0.5 or fewer cumulative infections per 100,000 of the population for one week.”