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Coronavirus

Japan seeks to lift state of emergency as the number of new COVID-19 cases falls

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The Japanese government will seek advisers’ approval to lift all emergency curbs at the end of the month as the number of new coronavirus cases falls and the strain on the medical system eases, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Tuesday.

If approved by a panel of government advisers, Japan as a whole would be out of a state of emergency for the first time in nearly six months.

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Like many other countries, Japan had struggled to contain the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant - including through the Summer Olympic Games - keeping much of the country under emergency restrictions.

But new daily cases steadily declined over the past month, to 2,129 on Sunday, while the number of severe cases also fell. About 56 percent of the population is fully vaccinated and the government has said all those who want the shot will have gotten one by November.

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