Japan will downgrade the legal classification of COVID-19 this spring — bringing an end to quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 patients — and review border controls and mask recommendations, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Friday, marking a major policy change nearly three years since the start of the pandemic.
Étiqueté : The Japan Times
With coronavirus infections rising again nationwide, a panel of experts advising the health ministry has warned that the peak of what has the makings of Japan’s eighth wave is likely to match or exceed that of the record-setting seventh.
Individual foreign tourists could finally enter Japan with few restrictions on Oct. 11, when the government lifted most of its remaining COVID-19 border controls. Gone is the unpopular requirement that tourists must travel on package tours to be allowed into Japan. The government also removed its cap on daily arrivals and resumed visa-free entry for short-term travelers from visa-exempt countries or regions.
Once again, COVID-19 cases are surging across Japan, fueled in part by the newer, immunity-escaping omicron subvariant BA.5, raising concerns that the nation’s seventh wave has begun.
Japan further eased its border restrictions on Wednesday, allowing people arriving from 98 countries where coronavirus cases are low to be exempt from testing at airports and quarantine.
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Wearing masks outdoors to protect against the coronavirus is not necessary providing social distancing is practiced, Japan’s top government spokesman said Wednesday, with the approach of summer increasing the risk of heatstroke.
– Ruling LDP’s Seko says border controls have lost significance
– Prime Minister Kishida has said opening must come gradually
Monday’s news that Japan detected its first case of the highly transmissible XE variant of the coronavirus adds another concern for the government, which is struggling to raise vaccination rates among young people as infection levels remain high nationwide and are surging in mostly rural prefectures.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday that he will raise the daily cap on arrivals from overseas to 7,000 starting March 14 and extend quasi-emergencies in 18 out of the 31 prefectures where the measure is currently in effect.
The sixth wave of the pandemic may have crested but the number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization remains high, further straining Japan’s health care system and making it hard for some hospitals to continue offering other conventional medical services.
Without any legally enforceable lockdown measures, the watchful gaze of the public eye has kept the nation’s citizens in check
While medical terms used to simply be a category of vocabulary that only the most advanced Japanese-language students would learn, these days they are hard to avoid. Being able to identify such words and phrases in newspaper headlines or government reports can help you get a better understanding of what is going on with the pandemic.
The slow COVID-19 booster rollout in Japan is expected to accelerate in February, its third month, after the first two months ended with less than 4% of all residents in the country having received their third shot — less than a third of the government’s target.
As daily COVID-19 cases break new records every day in Japan, concern is growing that day-to-day business operations — in sectors from health care to railways — could become paralyzed if more workers become absent from either being infected with the virus or being considered a close contact, making them need to isolate for 10 days.