Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday announced that that the government would lift its nationwide state of emergency, declaring that Japan has “largely” brought its coronavirus outbreak “under control.”
Every area of the country has met the conditions for ending the emergency, which are extremely strict by global standards, Abe said in a news conference, according to Bloomberg News. In Japans own way, we have largely brought the infection under control in a month and a half.
Abe said that bolstering the economy amid the pandemic would become the government’s top priority. His administration is reportedly set to deliberate on a second budget proposal to help businesses and workers financially impacted by the quarantine measures.
The first and second coronavirus budget proposals will total more than $1.86 trillion, Abe said. The funding will go towards providing loans and rent subsidies to businesses and income support for furloughed workers, among other things.
As Japan moves towards a complete reopening, Abe stressed that citizens should be cognizant of the potential for a second wave of coronavirus infections. He noted that another emergency order could be implemented if necessary.
Abe issued a state of emergency in early April, which allowed governors to direct businesses to close and citizens to remain home. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has said that a removal of the emergency order would allow the city to enter “stage one” of its gradual reopening, Reuters reported.
As of Monday, Japan had reported more than 16,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 820 deaths from it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.
The country avoided the large outbreaks that many other nations have experienced, but it has seen an extreme hit to its economy, which is expected to suffer a contraction of 22 percent this quarter, Bloomberg News reported.