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China Daily Global / 2020-05 / 22 / Page007

Japan lifts more curbs; Iran makes progress

China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-05-22 00:00

TOKYO-The Japanese government on Thursday lifted a state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures in western Japan as the number of COVID-19 infections there has remained low.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the emergency measure may end in Tokyo and its three prefectural neighbors Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa as well as the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido as early as Monday after a fresh review by a government panel of health experts.

As of Wednesday night, Japan had reported 16,433 confirmed cases, including 784 deaths, according to public broadcaster NHK.

In the Middle East, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran has got closer to the containment of the novel coronavirus epidemic in the country.

Iran has made great progress in the fight against COVID-19 thanks to the efforts of the medical staff over the past three months, Rouhani said in a weekly cabinet meeting.

"During these three months, we have been advancing step by step without a retreat. In general, we've made good progress in the face of this dangerous virus and are almost on the verge of containment," he said.

Iran has reported 126,949 confirmed cases and 7,183 deaths.

In Turkey, the daily new COVID-19 cases fell under 1,000 on Wednesday for the first time since March 25, indicating Turkey's success in dealing with the novel coronavirus, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

"We will now fight the virus more freely. Our new way of life is controlled social life," he added, referring the policy of easing anti-COVID-19 measures. But he also urged the citizens to compulsorily wear masks and gloves as well as follow strict social distancing rules in public spaces.

The total number of confirmed cases in Turkey has surged to 152,587, while the death toll is 4,222.

In Iraq, the health authorities on Wednesday kicked off a plan to impose a curfew in six districts of Baghdad which saw the highest numbers of cases during the past few days.

Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi said the quarantine measures in these six districts would be strict and would last two weeks, with the aim of curbing the spread of the disease in cooperation with teams from the World Health Organization and the security forces.

Iraq had reported 3,724 cases as of Wednesday.

Internal borders

Elsewhere in the Pacific, Australian state and territory leaders bickered on Thursday over whether to reopen internal borders, a major step to rejuvenating the country's A$80 billion ($50 billion) domestic tourism industry, as part of measures to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he wants the bulk of all social distancing restrictions removed by July under a three-step plan, as the country continues to report low daily numbers of new infections.

In Africa, Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh announced on Wednesday a program to revive his country's economy "after its success in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic".

The program is based on strengthening national sovereignty and security, preserving the economic fabric, working to revitalize the most affected sectors and fighting against corruption and impunity.

As of Tuesday, the total number of cases in Tunisia had hit 1,044 with 47 deaths.

Xinhua - Agencies

A musician performs with the Sydney Opera House in the background. Australia has announced a three-step plan to relax restrictions imposed to fight COVID-19. BAI XUEFEI/XINHUA



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