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coronavirus International

Japan’s Abe lifts state of emergency

Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the country’s nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this criteria,” the BBC quoted Abe as saying said in a televised address to the nation recently.

He said the country had managed to control the spread of COVID-19 since issuing the order in some areas on April 7, then later extending it nationwide.

Japan has been easing restrictions since mid-May, but kept several areas, Tokyo included, under watch to ensure the outbreak had been contained.

Unlike other major economies, Japan has endured a relatively limited outbreak of COVID-19, recording 820 coronavirus-related deaths and 16,550 infections as of May 25.

Initially, Japan was criticized for its handling of the pandemic, prompting the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in metropolitan areas on April 7, later expanding it nationwide.

To avoid new outbreaks of the virus, Abe has urged people to become accustomed to a “new lifestyle” that includes maintaining social distancing, the use of masks outside as well as a series of guidelines for the reopening of shops, restaurants and public facilities.

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