TOKYO — Japan’s government says the coronavirus state of emergency will end Thursday to help rejuvenate the economy as infections slow.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced virus restrictions will be eased gradually. Government officials are instituting other plans, such as vaccine passports and virus tests, Suga says.
With the lifting, Japan will be free of emergency requirements for the first time in more than six months. The current state of emergency, declared in April, was repeatedly extended and expanded, especially during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Infections started to worsen in July and peaked in mid-August after the Olympics, surging above 5,000 daily cases in Tokyo alone and topping 25,000 nationwide. Thousands of patients unable to find hospital beds had to recover from the illness at home.
Daily reported cases have fallen to around 2,000 nationwide. Health experts attributed the declining numbers to the progress of vaccinations — 58% of the population is fully vaccinated — increased social distancing efforts after alarm from full hospitals.
There have been 1.69 million confirmed cases and 17,500 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Japan.