Japan is extending its coronavirus state of emergency until March 7, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced, following a government meeting.
The extension will apply to 10 of the 11 areas currently under the measure, including capital city Tokyo. The pandemic-postponed Olympic Games opens in the city in less than six months’ time.
Measures had been due to end in the prefectures on February 7.
The state of emergency will not be extended in Tochigi, north of the capital, where cases are judged to have dropped sufficiently.
“In prefectures where the virus situation improves, we will gradually lift the state of emergency, without having to wait for March 7th,” Suga said.
Japan’s virus state of emergency is significantly looser than lockdowns elsewhere in the world. It largely calls for more people to work from home and for bars and restaurants to shut from 8 p.m.
The extension was widely expected.
Despite the extension of the measures for Tokyo, the Olympics 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said the Games would go ahead “however the coronavirus [pandemic] evolves.”