May 3, 2020 / 7:47 AM / in 22 days

Japan indicates could ease some coronavirus-related curbs

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks stand in a queue during the nationwide state of emergency following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, April 25, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan could ease some of the current coronavirus-related curbs on economic activity by allowing places such as parks and museums to reopen, provided proper preventive measures were in place, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Sunday.

The remarks come a day before the government is set to announce the extension of its state of emergency after struggling to suppress the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected 15,589 people and killed 530 in the country.

“As long as the proper preventive measures are in place, it could be possible to ease some of the current restrictions on economic activities,” Nishimura said at a news conference held on Sunday morning.

Places like parks, museums, art galleries, and libraries could reopen even in the 13 prefectures where the coronavirus has spread rapidly, if they take steps to disinfect their premises and ensure visitors maintain their distance, he added.

Further details on how restrictions might be eased would be discussed at an expert’s meeting on Monday, Nishimura said.

The government-issued state of emergency in Japan is set to expire on Wednesday, the last day of a week-long national holiday. The government is preparing to extend the state of emergency for another month.

Under the state of emergency, the government has asked people to stay at home, avoid unnecessary outings, and refrain from going to crowded areas.

Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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