Japan will take into account downgrading Covid-19 to the identical class as seasonal influenza this spring, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida introduced Friday.
Kishida stated he had instructed Well being Ministry officers to debate the transfer and his administration would additionally evaluate guidelines on face masks and different pandemic measures.
“With the intention to additional advance the efforts of ‘dwelling with Corona’ and restore Japan to a state of normalcy, we are going to transition the varied insurance policies and measures to this point in phases,” Kishida stated.
Whereas every day Covid-19 circumstances in Japan have declined in latest weeks, the nation nonetheless faces round 100,000 new infections a day.
Covid-19 is categorized as a Class 2 illness, the identical standing as tuberculosis and avian influenza, in accordance with Japan’s Well being Ministry. Officers will now talk about reclassifying it to Class 5 – the bottom rank, which incorporates seasonal flu.
Japan absolutely reopened its borders to abroad guests final October after greater than two years of pandemic restrictions, ending one of many world’s strictest border controls.
Influenza – or the frequent flu – and Covid-19 are each contagious respiratory diseases with simlar signs, however they’re brought on by completely different viruses and require testing to substantiate a analysis, the USA’ Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) says on its web site.
In accordance with the CDC, the danger of demise or hospitalization from Covid-19 is tremendously decreased for most individuals as a result of excessive ranges of vaccination and inhabitants immunity from earlier infections.
Nonetheless, the World Well being Group nonetheless lists the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, and reiterated in its newest replace a advice for folks to put on masks following latest publicity or shut contact with Covid-19, and for “anybody in a crowded, enclosed, or poorly ventilated house” to do the identical.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus known as on governments final week to proceed sharing the sequencing knowledge of the coronavirus, because it remained important to detect and monitor the emergence and unfold of latest variants.
“It’s comprehensible that nations can’t keep the identical ranges of testing and sequencing that they had through the Omicron peak. On the similar time, the world can’t shut its eyes and hope this virus will go away. It gained’t,” he stated.
The information got here as South Korea introduced it would raise its masks mandate for many indoor areas, with exceptions for public transport and well being services. The modifications will take impact on January 30, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo stated Friday.
The measure will probably be lifted after the Lunar New 12 months vacation, when a lot of individuals are anticipated to journey, the Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company (KDCA) stated.
New Covid-19 circumstances, extreme circumstances and associated deaths are all declining and the nation’s medical response capability stays secure, KDCA added.
The company has strongly beneficial folks put on masks if they’ve Covid-19 associated signs, belong to a high-risk group, have been in touch not too long ago with a optimistic case, or are in a crowded house.
The prime minister stated the easing of the mandate might lead to a short lived surge of latest circumstances and urged well being authorities to remain vigilant.
South Korea has scrapped most of its pandemic restrictions and eased its outside masks mandate in Might 2022. It nonetheless requires individuals who take a look at optimistic to bear seven days of residence isolation.
The nation has additionally restricted journey from mainland China and applied testing necessities for folks arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macau following Beijing’s easing of Covid restrictions.