TOKYO, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- A growing number of Japanese government officials believe that it will be necessary to extend the current state of emergency over COVID-19 as there is no major improvement in infections in the capital of Tokyo and elsewhere, local media reported Wednesday.
The state of emergency was declared by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga earlier this month, covering 11 of the country's 47 prefectures, namely Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Tochigi, Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka.
Under the state of emergency, people in the affected areas are asked to refrain from making unnecessary trips outdoors, and restaurants and bars are requested to close by 8:00 p.m. local time.
Since the state of emergency was issued, the daily tally of new cases confirmed in Tokyo has been gradually falling. However, some experts said the decline is slow and the proportion of elderly is increasing.
While the current end date is Feb. 7, sources familiar with the matter told local media that it could remain in place until the end of February.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of the government's COVID-19 response, said on Tuesday that the government will avoid waiting until the last minute to announce its decision so the prefectures will not be caught off guard.