Tokyo [Japan], February 12 (ANI): The Japanese government decided on Friday against lifting the coronavirus state of emergency this week ahead of the March 7 end date.
According to Kyodo News, the government made the decision as it continues to weigh the risk of a resurgence of infections alongside the need to restart economic activity, which has stalled under its call for people to refrain from unnecessary outings and for restaurants and bars to close early.
Earlier, government officials said the state of emergency could be lifted in some regions even before March 7 and several prefectures, including Aichi and Gifu, had been under consideration for an early exit.
But senior members of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's administration believed the move would be premature considering data regarding the central Japan area.
Prime Minister Suga is in a precarious position as his public support dwindles amid criticism of a sluggish pandemic response. A Kyodo News poll this month showed the approval rating for his Cabinet stood at 38.8 percent, down from 66.4 percent when he took office in September, Kyodo News reported.
The government declared a state of emergency for the second time in Tokyo and adjacent Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama on Jan. 7, expanding it to Tochigi, Gifu, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka on Jan. 13.
The initial end date of Feb. 7 was extended by one month with the exception of Tochigi, which had seen its situation significantly improve.
The total number of coronavirus cases reported in Japan is 412,124, while the death toll stands at 6,800, according to the Johns Hopkins University. (ANI)