State of emergency extended for one month

Japan's government is extending the coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and eight other prefectures for a month, until March 7.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide announced the decision in a meeting of the coronavirus taskforce on Tuesday. Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi, who is tasked with the country's coronavirus response, and Health Minister Tamura Norihisa also attended.

The state of emergency covers 11 prefectures and was originally set to expire on Sunday.

Suga said the number of new infections has been decreasing in Tokyo and across the country since the state of emergency took effect last month.

He said measures, including shortened business hours for restaurants and bars, have been successful.

Suga also said it is necessary to continue the efforts to bring down the numbers of patients in hospitals, and those with serious symptoms.

But the declaration for Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, will expire on Sunday, as the number of new cases and the medical system there have improved.

Suga added that he will lift the state of emergency before March 7 if situations improve.