Japan removes recommendation to wear mask indoors

Tokyo, Mar 13 (EFE).- Japan eliminated its recommendation Monday to wear a mask indoors, leaving the final decision to citizens, who mostly continued to wear it both on public transport and outdoors.

Although there was no legal obligation in the archipelago to wear a mask, the Japanese government had until now recommended using it indoors, while as of Monday it only advises it in certain cases such as visiting medical centers.

“Starting today, each person’s choice of whether to wear a mask or not will be respected. The Government of Japan only indicates at what times we consider it most effective to avoid contagion,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said Monday.

In addition to hospitals, health centers and pharmacies, the Japanese Executive also recommends the use of masks in nursing homes and crowded public transport, since, according to Matsuno, they can protect the elderly and those at risk of serious diseases.

Different establishments can also continue to request their customers to wear a mask. In the case of Tokyo’s Haneda airport, for example, the signs asking travelers to take it have been removed.

In some places such as hairdressers or concert halls, where it may be difficult to maintain distance, regulations could be maintained.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida entered the official residence Monday without wearing a mask and spoke of his intention to wear it when he deems it appropriate, something he also recommended to citizens.

“Putting on and removing the mask is at the discretion of each individual, but it is not mandatory for anyone to do so. I think that in my case there will be more occasions to remove it,” Kishida said.

The Japanese government also plans to equate the classification of the coronavirus to the same as the flu from May 8, thus reducing containment measures against this disease.

Until now, the coronavirus is part of “group 2” of diseases, which allows authorities to take strict measures and movement restrictions to help reduce cases, while “group 5” equates the disease with other seasonal ones such as flu.

The country, with 125 million inhabitants, has had 33.2 million infections since the start of the pandemic and close to 73,000 deaths from the virus, and has been registering between 95,000 and 78,000 new cases per day in the last week. EFE


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