State of emergency for Tokyo area ends

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

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says it confirmed 256 new coronavirus cases on Sunday.

The average number of daily new cases for the seven-day period through Sunday in Tokyo is 301.1, up 7.9 percent from the previous week. This marks the ninth straight day of increase.

The total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the capital stands at 117,517.

Tokyo officials say the number of people in serious condition is 47, the same as Saturday.