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Japan won't end COVID emergency this week

Hospital occupancy remains high despite decline in new cases

Staffers in masks and face shields at an exhibition center in Tokyo: Japan is working to curb a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Japanese government decided against lifting its coronavirus state of emergency this week ahead of the March 7 end date, with heavily affected areas continuing to experience a shortage in hospital beds.

Ten prefectures, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Aichi and Fukuoka, are currently under the mandate. The government has the option to lift it ahead of schedule but concluded that no prefecture meets the criteria based on the conditions on the ground. 

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