Sunday’s Sankei claimed in its lead story that the GOJ is likely to decide on March 18 to lift the coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo and its three neighboring prefectures on March 21 on account of a gradual decrease in hospital bed occupancy rates. While the epidemic curve appears to be rising slightly, many GOJ officials and some public health experts have concluded that it would be difficult to bring the trajectory down significantly with the current prevention measures alone. An unnamed cabinet minister was quoted as saying: “The declaration is no longer effective. We have no choice but to end it swiftly.”
Meanwhile, according to a public opinion survey conducted by Mainichi on Saturday, almost three out of five respondents called for the emergency declaration to be extended beyond March 21.