Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is set to extend the nationwide state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak by nearly a month until the end of May.
Abe received updates on the domestic situation in a meeting on Sunday from health minister Kato Katsunobu and Nishimura Yasutoshi, minister in charge of coronavirus response.
They also discussed the state of emergency, which is due to expire on Wednesday.
The ministers agreed to extend the state of emergency until May 31 on the grounds that the medical system remains severely strained despite the downturn in the daily number of newly confirmed infections.
The government will ask an advisory expert panel for its opinion on the extension plan on Monday before finalizing it at a taskforce meeting later in the day.
The government also plans to modify its basic guidelines aimed at preventing the virus from spreading further.
The government may basically ask prefectures under a special alert to maintain their current requests for limited activities of people and businesses. The alert is currently in effect for Tokyo and 12 other prefectures, which the government sees as particularly hit hard by the outbreak.
But the government may allow other prefectures to partially ease their requests on condition that they strongly call on people and businesses to adopt new lifestyles in the fight against the virus.