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Tokyo set to drop all coronavirus business restrictions on June 19

Karaoke and theme parks resume as capital lifts alert for potential second wave

Tokyo will lift its coronavirus alert and ease restrictions on business operations. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo metropolitan government will lift all business restrictions on June 19 after the capital on Thursday rescinded its "state of alert" warning of a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Immediately after the state of emergency was lifted last month, Tokyo issued its first alert on June 2. The alert did not lead to stricter social distancing, but advised caution.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters that the city "has entered a new stage to live with the novel coronavirus." She added that the city will continue to build up testing and medical care capacities to prepare for a possible second wave.

Koike said she feels that preventative guidelines across different businesses are in place, hence the lifting of restrictions at this time.

The government also confirmed that more businesses -- including karaoke parlors and theme parks -- can reopen on Friday. Restaurants will be allowed to operate until midnight, rather than 10 p.m. as currently advised.

On June 19, businesses that are considered high risk as regards the "3Cs" -- closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings, such as live concert halls and cabarets -- will be allowed to reopen. But facilities will still be required to take precautionary measures. In addition, restaurants can extend their hours past midnight.

The state of alert is issued when: coronavirus cases average 20 or more for seven consecutive days; officials can not confirm infection routes for over 50% of new cases; or the total number of cases increases on a weekly basis.

Infections in the past week incurred people who had been to the Shinjuku district, famous for its nightlife.

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