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Japan to extend coronavirus state of emergency into June

Japan to extend coronavirus state of emergency into June
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed Friday that the state of emergency in the country over the coronavirus pandemic that was initially scheduled to end next week will instead be extended into June.  

Abe cited a report from a government task force saying that Japanese medical systems continue to struggle with the ongoing pandemic, as there have been over 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases throughout the country, The Associated Press reported.

“We still need you to continue cooperating, and that’s the experts’ view,” Abe told reporters, according to the outlet. He said he directed Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura to extend the emergency measures “for about a month,” according to the AP.

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Shigeru Omi, a Japanese public health expert formerly with the World Health Organization, told reporters that infections throughout the country have not slowed as quickly as health officials previously hoped, spurring the need for extended emergency measures.

“If the resurgence occurs, medical systems will be quickly overburdened. Our consensus is that the ongoing framework of measures should be maintained,” he said.

However, the country is continuing to report fewer coronavirus cases despite relatively less restrictive social distancing measures compared to other countries. Tokyo health officials on Monday reported 39 new coronavirus cases — the lowest number of newly confirmed cases in the city in three weeks.  

Japan has confirmed over 14,000 coronavirus cases and over 400 deaths, according to its health ministry, the AP reported.

But health officials have said they are behind in their goal for coronavirus tests conducted on a daily basis. Some experts have said that the lack of testing could result in a skewed number of confirmed cases.