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Coronavirus

Japan to End COVID-19 State of Emergency in Tokyo

TOKYO — Japan says it will end a state of emergency in the Tokyo area set up to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

That’s despite concerns of a resurgence ahead of spring and next week’s Olympic torch relay. Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says the emergency will end Sunday. The decision underscores the government’s eagerness keep the economy going. However, some experts warned that although Tokyo has managed to bring down the rate of new infections, the decline has leveled off and could rebound.

The emergency began in January and centered around asking restaurants, bars and other businesses to close at 8 p.m. Suga says he supports preparations for the Olympics, which is scheduled to begin in July after being postponed last year.

Japan has managed to keep virus cases and deaths relatively low in the nation of 126 million without enforcing a hard lockdown. The Health Ministry reports about 450,000 total cases and more than 8,700 confirmed deaths. The U.S. leads the world with 29.6 million confirmed cases and more than 538,000 dead.

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