Japan plans to downgrade Covid-19 to same level as seasonal flu in spring

Tokyo, Jan 20 (EFE).- Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday asked the health ministry to consider downgrading the coronavirus to the same level as a seasonal flu in spring, thereby reducing restrictions to contain the disease.

Kishida held a meeting with health minister Kato Katsunobu and the minister in charge of coronavirus measures, Goto Shigeyuki, on Friday, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Kishida told reporters after the meeting that the government will ask experts to review the recent Covid-19 situation and based on that, consider reclassifying the disease to category five.

Currently, the coronavirus is classified as category two, the second highest in the five-tier system based on severity and infectiousness, which allows authorities to take strict measures and impose restrictions on movement to help reduce cases.

Lowering the classification to category five would put Covid-19 at the same level as that of less serious infections such as the seasonal flu.

The prime minister also said that the current quarantine system for positive cases and close contacts would be reviewed, along with financial assistance, the recommendation to wear masks indoors and future vaccination campaigns.

The Japanese authorities currently advise people to wear masks both indoors as well as outdoors when a minimum interpersonal distance cannot be kept.

Although masks have never been mandatory in Japan, most citizens have been using them both indoors and outdoors since the start of the pandemic.

The Asian country, which has a population of 125 million, has recorded a total of 31.7 million infections since the start of the pandemic and just over 63,000 deaths.

In the last week, it has been registering between 140,000 and 125,000 daily cases. EFE


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