The Japanese government on Monday officially announced its decision to extend the nationwide state of emergency for COVID-19 by nearly a month until May 31.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, scheduled to hold a press conference at 6:00 p.m. local time, made the formal decision to extend the state of emergency beyond May 6, the last day of Japan's Golden Week holiday.
After an advisory panel of medical experts approved the extension in the morning, the government notified the parliament of the decision.
Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told the parliament that the pace of the declining of newly confirmed cases is not fast enough, though the number of new cases has been on a downward trend.
"We need to see a further reduction in new cases," Nishimura said.
The extension comes as the medical system has come under mounting pressure with increasing cases and sluggish economic activities due to stay-at-home requests and business closure. Enditem