Japan plans to lift its COVID-19 state of emergency, which covers 19 prefectures, at the end of September, broadcaster NHK reported on Monday.
An official announcement with details is expected on Tuesday, Kyodo News reported.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he discussed easing measures with relevant ministers on Monday, and would seek the views of a government panel of advisers on Tuesday.
“We will make a final decision on the matter based on the advice and discussions we have with the government expert panel tomorrow,” he told reporters on Monday evening.
If approved, Japan would be free of such emergency restrictions for the first time in nearly six months.
Current measures require restaurants to close early and refrain from serving alcohol. People have been asked to avoid non-urgent outings and refrain from crossing prefectural borders.
Even when the state of emergency ends, authorities are considering keeping some curbs in place, fearing a spike in infections if the country opens up completely, according to local media.
Tokyo is considering limiting the opening hours of restaurants, for example, and only allowing alcohol to be served at pre-approved eateries, NHK reported on Monday.
Japan saw a spike in cases over the summer as it struggled to contain the contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, reaching a record high of 25,000 new daily infections.
However, that number has dropped in recent weeks, and the country recorded just over 2,000 cases on Sunday. Over 57 per cent of the population is now fully vaccinated.
— From Reuters, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early Monday morning, more than 231.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at over 4.7 million.
In the Middle East, health officials in Kuwait on Sunday reported one death and 37 new cases of COVID-19. Some students in Kuwait have returned to classrooms for the first time since 2020, with more students expected to follow in the weeks ahead.
In Europe, President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said France would give 120 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor nations, doubling an earlier pledge, French news agency AFP reported.
In the Americas, the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech will be the only one used in Mexico for at-risk children aged 12 to 17, Mexico’s deputy health minister said.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australian authorities announced plans to gradually reopen locked-down Sydney, unveiling a two-tiered system that will give citizens inoculated for COVID-19 more freedoms than their unvaccinated neighbours for several weeks.
Thailand’s COVID-19 task force approved a plan to procure a combined 3.35 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, a spokesperson said. The country will also waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions from Nov. 1 to vaccinated arrivals, according to authorities.
In Africa, Tunisia will entirely lift its nightly curfew against COVID-19 from Saturday, the presidency said, after about a year in force.
— From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 7:30 a.m. ET