İrem UZUN -TDO- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday in a nationally televised news conference that Japan has lifted a state of emergency imposed to tackle the coronavirus in most of the country. "Today we decided to lift the state of emergency in 39 (out of 47) prefectures," he said. State of emergency will be in force in capital Tokyo, Osaka, northern island of Hokkaido and 5 other prefectures. "If possible, before 31 May, we would like to lift the state of emergency for the other regions as well," Abe added.

Abe declared a month-long state of emergency on April 7 in the capital and six other urban prefectures and later expanded it to the whole country until May 31. With signs of the infections slowing, Abe sought to relax the measure and balance disease prevention with the Japanese economy. Abe said on Thursday that Japan's rate of infection had reduced to one seventh of the country's peak. Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is also in charge of the government’s coronavirus response, said the government will reimpose restrictions if the number of patients increases dramatically again. “We need to gradually raise the level of economic and social activities on the premise that preventative measures against infectious disease are thoroughly implemented, while taking each region’s level of infection and health care system into consideration,” Nishimura said.

Japanese government called the people to adopt a new lifestyle, wear masks, and keep following distancing guidance. The government requested people to avoid travel between areas that are still under the state of emergency and those that are not. It also warned people to avoid confined and crowded places as long as it is not necessary.

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