State of emergency for Tokyo area ends Sunday

The coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures will expire at the end of the day on Sunday.

It went into effect in early January, when infection cases were surging. Case numbers in the capital have leveled off, and efforts are underway to prevent a resurgence.

There are concerns about places where people gather to see cherry trees in bloom. At Ueno Park, fences have been set up around trees, and people are not allowed to sit on benches for a long time to eat or drink.

A male visitor said he hasn't seen tough restrictions like this before and he thinks it's a good thing.

In the past, cherry blossoms have been lit up at night, but not this year.

The government will keep in place its request that restaurants and bars close early, and that companies allow employees to work remotely.

Tokyo reported 342 new cases on Saturday. This was the fifth consecutive day the number surpassed 300.

The seven-day average of daily case counts through Saturday increased by 7.1 percent from the previous week.

Across Japan, more than 1,500 new cases were reported on Saturday. Nearly half of them were in the Tokyo area.