Japan lifts state of emergency due to Covid-19

The Japanese Prime Minister announced that the state of emergency due to Covid-19 in 19 regions across the country will end by the end of the month thanks to the improvement of the situation.

Prime Minister Japan Yoshihide Suga on September 28 declared a state of emergency in 19 areas including the Tokyo metropolitan area, the economic centers of Osaka and Aichi, tourist hotspots Kyoto and Okina, will end at the end of September and not extended because the Covid-19 situation in Japan is improving.

Tokyoites watched Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announce the lifting of the state of emergency via live television on September 28.  Photo: AFP

Tokyoites watched Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announce the lifting of the state of emergency via live television on September 28. Photo: AFP

“Thanks to everyone’s hard work, the number of new infections per day has decreased from 25,000 cases in mid-August to 1,128 cases yesterday,” he said. “Bed occupancy rates in all regions have fallen below 50%. The number of severe cases that peaked in early September is continuing to decline.”

The extent of the pandemic’s impact in Japan is considered less severe than in many other countries, with about 17,500 deaths per 125 million people and the government has never imposed a mandatory stay-at-home order. The vaccination program started off slow but has since accelerated, with 58% of the population having had two doses, more than the US.

World recorded 233,377,811 nCoV infections and 4,772,376 deaths, an increase of 382,405 and 7,260 respectively, while 208,423,905 people have recovered, according to real-time statistics site Worldometers.

Iran on September 28 announced the re-issuance of visas for foreign tourists from October, after a 19-month hiatus due to Covid-19. Tourism Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami announced that “the issuance of tourist visas by land and by air will resume” from October 23.

Except for medical and work reasons, Iran banned foreigners from entering the country in March last year, a few weeks after the first Covid-19 case was detected. Iranian media reported that the decision to re-authorize the visa was made last weekend during a meeting of the Covid-19 task force, attended by President Ebrahim Raisi.

“This regulation excludes direct and indirect travel from high-risk countries as assessed by the World Health Organization,” the committee said.

Iran recorded nearly 120,000 deaths and more than 5.5 million infections. In recent weeks, infection rates have begun to decline after peaking in August during the fifth wave of Covid-19 caused by the Delta mutation.

Still at Brazil, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga on September 28 announced a booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine for people over 60 years old, saying that about 7 million people are eligible for this shot.

Brazil has previously given booster doses of the vaccine to people over 70 and health workers. According to data from the country’s Ministry of Health, about 600,000 booster injections have been performed. About 52% of Brazil’s adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Hong Hanh (Follow AFP/Guardian)

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