Photo/Illutration Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura gives a briefing on the prefecture’s state of emergency at the prefectural government building on Aug. 6. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

NAGOYA--Aichi prefectural officials lifted their state of emergency to combat COVID-19 on Aug. 24, but warned residents that the prefecture is not out of the woods yet.

The Aichi prefectural government confirmed 43 new infection cases, marking the 11th consecutive day the count has fallen below 100.

Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura said that the novel coronavirus is still spreading among middle-aged and elderly people and called for protecting the elderly from infection because they are likely to develop severe symptoms.

Aichi Prefecture will remain in a “full alert phase,” the second highest level of the four-phase infection warning system, even after the prefecture’s state of emergency was lifted.

However, the prefecture lifted its request for some eating and drinking establishments in the Nishiki and Sakae entertainment and shopping districts in central Nagoya to suspend operations or cut business hours.

It continues to urge its residents not to travel across prefectural borders if not urgent or necessary, except for Mie and Gifu prefectures, two neighboring prefectures in the Tokai region.

Aichi officials will also continue asking the public not to have meals outdoors in a group of five or more and to try to avoid infecting pregnant women and people with underlying conditions.

Since July, patients in their 30s or under accounted for about 60 percent of all daily infected patients. But in the week ending Aug. 23, they accounted for only 39 percent while the number of patients in their 60s or over increased to 33 percent.

The number of people who have severe symptoms in hospitals nearly tripled from the highest during the first infection wave, totaling 26 patients. The number of patients who have moderate symptoms increased to 121.

Mitsuaki Maseki, head of the medical association in the prefecture, warned at the prefecture’s meeting for anti-coronavirus measures the same day that patients who have severe symptoms are more likely to need longer treatment.

“In the prefecture, if patients who have moderate symptoms develop more severe symptoms, intensive care units could become full of infected patients,” he said. “Treatments for patients who have other illnesses could be restricted.”

Maseki asked for increasing the capacity to provide medical services.

On Aug. 24, Mie and Gifu prefectures reported 11 and four new infection cases, respectively.

Across Japan, 493 new patients were confirmed infected with COVID-19 as of 11 p.m. on Aug. 24, dipping below 500 daily cases for the first time in 35 days since July 20.

Tokyo saw 95 new infection cases, recording below 100 for the first time in 47 days.

The positivity rate in the capital was 5 percent as of Aug. 24. It has decreased since early August when it was at about 7 percent.

Osaka Prefecture reported 60 new infection cases, confirming below 100 for the first time in seven days.

Kanagawa and Okinawa prefectures reported four deaths related to the novel coronavirus each, while Tokyo and Osaka logged two deaths each. Across the nation, 13 deaths were added to the total.