Fri, 10 Jul 2020

TOKYO, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government plans to fully lift the state of emergency in the Tokyo metropolitan area and Hokkaido on Monday, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Sunday.

The decision came as the number of new COVID-19 cases is on a declining trend and the medical system also improved.

Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama and Hokkaido were the last remaining areas under the state of emergency among the country's 47 prefectures.

Nishimura, who is in charge of the emergency response, said an advisory panel of health experts will meet on Monday morning to discuss the lifting of the emergency.

"For the most part, there is no change in the trend of decline (in new infection cases)," Nishimura said at a press conference.

The confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country increased by 26 to reach 16,569, according to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities on Sunday.

The number excludes the 712 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo.

In Tokyo, 14 new infections were reported on Sunday, raising the total number in the prefecture to 5,152 so far, while nine deaths were confirmed on the same day.

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