Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency will be extended for about a month until the end of May.
Abe, citing experts' evaluation on the current situation on the infections, said that the measure, currently through Wednesday, should stay in place as the rise in the number of patients has not decreased significantly enough and hospitals are still overburdened.
He said there is a possibility of an early lifting of the measures if data at mid-May show improvement.
Abe declared the state of emergency on April 7, initially only for Tokyo and six other urban prefectures, but later extending it to the entire nation and requesting the people to reduce social interactions by up to 80%. He stopped short of issuing business closure requests.
Japan has more than 15,000 cases with over 500 deaths. The number of cases detected in Tokyo accounts to about one-third of the national total.