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COVID-19 state of emergency likely to be extended again 

  • August 31, 2021
  • , Mainichi, Sankei
  • JMH Summary

Sankei projected that the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo and elsewhere will probably be extended past Sept. 12 given that the virus is still raging in many parts of the country. While the Suga administration had aimed at conducting a review in the near future of the criteria for declaring a state of emergency to place more emphasis on healthcare capacity and the number of seriously ill patients than the number of daily cases, it has decided not to do so in order to head off criticism that the review is aimed at lifting the state of emergency sooner rather than later to enable Prime Minster Suga to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election. Public health experts on the GOJ coronavirus taskforce are also extremely cautious about altering the criteria at this juncture.  

 

Meanwhile, Mainichi wrote that Suga has recently been making one comment after another expressing his desire to lift the state of emergency quickly, speculating that the beleaguered leader is anxious to present an “exit strategy” from the pandemic in the face of growing public disapproval of his handling of it. The administration has recently eased its previous reluctance to use vaccine passports as a tool for economic recovery in a bid to galvanize public support for his reelection bid. In response to his idea about revising the criteria for issuing a state of emergency, Health Ministry officials and public health experts have expressed skepticism about “moving the goalposts” amid the raging outbreak.  

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