Tokyo enters phase 2 reopens schools, more businesses

Tokyo, Jun 1 (efe-epa).- Tokyo entered phase two of its de-escalation on Monday with public schools reopening after a three-month closure and a larger number of businesses resuming activities.

During this new phase, which follows the lifting on 25 May of the COVID-19 state of health emergency that was declared on 7 April, public and private schools – some of which had already opened – cinemas, theaters, gyms and shops such as department stores will be allowed to reopen.

The easing of restrictions includes the possibility of holding events with up to 100 participants, according to the guidelines made public by the Tokyo metropolitan government.

Tokyo’s authorities plan to continue to ease confinement measures in phases at two-week intervals, although if the number of infections remains low the third phase could come into force ahead of schedule, as was the case with the lifting of the state of emergency which was initially scheduled for 31 May but happened six days earlier.

Tokyo recorded five positive coronavirus cases on Sunday – the first time in six days that the figure was below 10 – although it must be noted that on Sundays, testing and analysis of tests in the country remains low.

The capital has experienced a slight increase in daily cases during the past week, including some cluster infections in a hospital in the west of the city.

Despite the slowdown in the number of infections and the start of the new phase, the Tokyo government has urged people not to let their guard down in case there is a spike in infections.

Tokyo authorities will continue to analyze the evolution of the outbreak before deciding whether to move on to phase three, which will allow bars and restaurants to remain open until midnight – currently they are open only until 10 pm – although other entertainment venues, such as karaoke bars, will remain closed. EFE-EPA


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