Tokyo reports less than 300 new infections

In Japan, new infections of coronavirus are on a continued downswing, while the vaccination rate is climbing.

Officials are now considering whether to ease restrictions that have hit businesses hard.

New cases fell below 300 in Tokyo on Tuesday, for the first time in three months.

The figure has been below 1,000 for 6 days in a row.

Tokyo and 18 other prefectures remain under a state of emergency. Eight others face less strict "quasi emergency" measures. All are set to expire at the end of the month.
The health minister says the government will rely on expert opinion to decide whether to extend them.

Health Minister Tamura Norihisa said, "COVID-19 has spread in waves, repeatedly declining and rebounding. We must carefully monitor the situation, provide necessary information to the public and ask them to stay on guard in order to control the spread of infections."

The government plans to ease some restrictions around November.

People who are vaccinated or test negative will be able to bypass rules restricting tourism and eating out.

The news spurred some travel agencies to begin selling group tours.

More than 54 percent of Japan is now fully vaccinated.

Officials say they should be ready to begin providing a third shot by the end of the year.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary says the government is still evaluating whether it's safe to vaccinate children.

Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech say new tests show their jab is both safe and effective for kids from 5 to 11.

Across Japan, authorities confirmed less than 1,800 cases on Tuesday. It's about 4,500 fewer than a week ago.