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Japan ready to lift COVID-19 state of emergency: report

Officials in Japan reportedly expect to end the state of emergency covering all 19 of the nation's prefectures by the end of the month as COVID-19 cases decline.

Japan's capital, Tokyo, reported 299 new cases on Sunday, marking the 11th consecutive day the city's case count has fallen below 1,000.

Meanwhile, approximately 2,100 cases were reported cases across the country on Sunday. Daily cases peaked at around 25,000 over the summer, Reuters noted.

Health Minister Tamura Norihisa told reporters Sunday "there is still a risk of infection," despite growing vaccination rates, but leaders "need to ease the restrictions on daily activities," according to NHK.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga could announce the final decision as early as Tuesday, which would lift state of emergency measures for the first time in nearly six months.

"We will make a final decision on the matter based on the advice and discussions we have with the government expert panel tomorrow," he told reporters on Monday evening, according to Reuters.

Emergency restrictions in Japan have focused largely on limiting restaurant's hours and curbing the sale of alcohol, the news service added. But some officials, including leaders in Tokyo, plan to keep some measures in place - including allowing alcohol sales only at restaurants that receive prior approval.

About 57 percent of the country's population is fully vaccinated, with more than 159 million doses administered. There have been nearly 1.7 million cases and 17,499 reported coronavirus-related deaths in Japan since the beginning of the pandemic.

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