Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to extend his country’s state of emergency by around a month through May 31 as a further step to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, a government official said Sunday.

Iran Press/Asia: Abe is set to announce the extension Monday, according to Kyodo News.

The declaration, originally set to expire Wednesday following a one-month period, has led local governments to ask residents to stay home as much as possible and some businesses to shut to prevent the spread of the virus.

But another senior official said the government is also planning to allow the reopening of parks, museums, libraries, and some other public facilities, even in areas with a relatively high number of coronavirus infections.

As part of efforts to deal with public weariness with the prolonged state of emergency, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said at a press conference that the government will permit those facilities to restart if sufficient measures to prevent the spread of the virus are put in place.

The government will release a set of guidelines on how to resume social activities on Monday.

On April 16, Abe expanded it to cover the rest of the country, urging the public to avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact with other people.

The state of emergency was originally scheduled to end Wednesday, the last day of the Golden Week holiday period.

The number of infections reported in Japan has topped 15,000, including around 4,600 in Tokyo. The virus has killed over 500 across the country.


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