Following the easing of the strain on the medical system, Japan decided to lift its 6-Month long state of emergency that covered Tokyo and 18 other prefectures since April.
The lifting was announced by the Japanese Prime Minister on Tuesday as the number of new infections continues to decrease and the vaccination rates ramp up.
The move means that an important number of COVID restrictions will be lifted or eased starting Oct. 1.
For instance, restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve alcohol as well as operating on extended hours.
“Lifting of the emergency doesn’t mean we are 100 percent free,” Shigeru Omi, a top medical adviser for the government, told AP. “The government should send a clear message to the people that we can only relax gradually.”
But the exciting news made Japanese people understood otherwise.
Only one day after the government made the announcement, Japan’s largest flight carrier All Nippon Airways Co. received more than 50,000 reservations, about 10 times more than the average in August.
Although the government did not show signs of reopening for foreign tourists, it decided to ease the quarantine period for fully immunized travelers from abroad.
Now, allowed visitors can shorten their self-isolation time from 14 to 10 days. Still tough, but better than nothing.
Other tourist venues that benefited from the state of emergency lifting were the Tokyo Disney theme parks and Universal Studios Japan which can now increase capacity from 5,000 daily visitors to 10,000.
Also, The maximum number of spectators allowed at large-scale events such as concerts and sporting events has been increased from 5,000 to 10,000.
Regardless of the positive pandemic figures, Japan wants to remain realistic.
Atsuo Hamada, a specially-appointed professor in travel medicine at Tokyo Medical University Hospital, has said that based on the epidemiology situation in other countries Japan will not be able to “avoid a “sixth wave” between November and December.”
For now, the country has immunized some of 60% percent of its population and expects to continue speeding up the pace of its vaccination drive.