Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other prefectures on Monday, ending seven weeks of economic restrictions and ushering in an uncertain “new normal.”
In a news conference, Abe said, “We have managed to bring the outbreak under control within just one and a half months. That demonstrates the effectiveness of the Japan model,” adding, “The conditions the government has set for lifting the restrictions are tough even by international standards. We have concluded that all the prefectures have met those conditions.”
Although the country of 126 million has recorded over 16,000 infections and 800 deaths since the pandemic began, it has avoided a devastating outbreak like in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The capital has limited new cases to single digits on most of the past ten days. The number of discharged patients has been steadily increasing, easing pressure on hospitals.
In recent days, Tokyo has been averaging about four new cases, below the government’s goal of 10.