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Coronavirus Asia: Japan set to lift all virus emergency steps nationwide

AP Reporters

Japan is set to lift all coronavirus emergency measures when they expire later this week as the infections slow and the nation tries to reactivate its economy.

Officials in charge of coronavirus measures sought advice from experts at a meeting on Tuesday, with some experts favouring a partial easing of restrictions first.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was expected to announce a lifting of the emergency and subsequent plans later on Tuesday.

If all measures are lifted, Japan will be entirely free of any emergency requirement for the first time since April.

Government officials are preparing for the relaxed restrictions by instituting other plans such as vaccine passports and virus tests.

The emergency and other measures in all 27 prefectures expire at the end of September.

Some experts want the state of emergency in 19 areas to be eased to a quasi-emergency first to ensure infections don’t quickly rebound, and the government is reportedly considering the strategy.

Meanwhile, New Zealand is relaxing travel restrictions in Auckland six weeks after the nation’s most populous city was locked down due to the coronavirus.

People will now be able to cross the city boundary if they are permanently relocating, have shared caring-giving arrangements or are returning home. Those leaving Auckland on care-giving trips will have to be tested for the virus within a week of their departure.

In Australia, the state of Victoria recorded more coronavirus infections than New South Wales for the first time since an outbreak of the delta variant began in Sydney in June.

Victoria, where Melbourne has been in lockdown since August 5, reported 867 new virus cases and four deaths from Covid-19 in the latest 24-hour period to Tuesday. It was the highest daily numbers of infections and deaths in Victoria for the latest outbreak.

New South Wales, where Sydney has been in lockdown since June 26, reported 863 new infections on Tuesday and seven deaths.

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