Japan ready to lift state of emergency

Japanese officials say the government is ready to lift the state of emergency for at least some prefectures at the end of this month as daily infections continue to fall.

Tokyo reported 299 new cases on Sunday. The figure has been under 1,000 for 11 consecutive days. Tokyo and 18 other prefectures are currently under a state of emergency.

Over 2,100 new infections were reported across the country on Sunday.

Health Minister Tamura Norihisa says the situation has reached a stage where restrictions can be gradually eased.

Tamura says, "There is still a risk of infection even after a large number of people have been vaccinated. But we need to ease the restrictions on daily activities."

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has returned from Washington, where he held summit talks with the leaders of the US, Australia and India.

Suga will make a decision about lifting the state of emergency as early as Tuesday after consulting experts.