NHK and Fuji TV gave top play to reports that the GOJ gave fast-track approval on Thursday evening to the antiviral drug remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment just three days after the application was filed. The GOJ is reportedly only planning to administer the drug to patients who are seriously ill. NTV led with a report that the state of emergency may be lifted on May 14 for 17 prefectures where no new cases have been confirmed for the last seven days. TBS reported that 24 of the approximately 780 pachinko parlors in Tokyo reopened yesterday. TV Asahi gave top play to a report that restrictions on business operations were eased yesterday in the 34 prefectures that are not designated as areas that warrant special attention.
Front-page items in national papers included the Health Ministry’s approval of remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment, indications by Prime Minister Abe and another cabinet minister on Thursday that the state of emergency could be lifted in certain prefectures on May 14, and decisions by some prefectural governments yesterday to ease business restrictions.