TOKYO, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The governors of Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo in western Japan on Tuesday asked the central government to lift the state of emergency over COVID-19 in these areas early due to sufficient improvement in their situations.
In a joint request to Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of the government's response to the novel coronavirus, the governors asked the government to lift the virus emergency this weekend, ahead of its initial end date on March 7.
The state of emergency, requesting people to stay home and restaurants and bars to shorten business hours, was initially declared by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Jan. 7 for a month, covering Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures.
It was later expanded to seven other prefectures including the three western areas and extended through March 7 for 10 of the 11 prefectures.
According to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan increased by 1,083 to reach 427,457 as of Tuesday evening.
The death toll in the country from the pneumonia-causing virus currently stands at 7,616, with 54 new fatalities announced Tuesday.