Japan to lift Covid-19 restrictions in multiple regions

Tokyo, Mar 16 (EFE).- The Japanese government announced Wednesday that from next week it will lift the anti-virus measures that have been in place since January in the major regions of the country following a decline in Covid-19 cases.

The measures – in force in 18 Japanese prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, among others – consisted mainly of time constraints for businesses such as bars and restaurants, considered to be the main hotspots of virus contagion.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced at a press conference the decision to lift these measures, as well as measures against a possible surge in infections, including ensuring sufficient doses of vaccines, tests and treatment for Covid-19.

Kishida described this phase of lifting of restrictions as a transition towards normalcy.

Following a new wave of infections caused by the omicron variant, the Japanese government in January declared a quasi-state of health emergency, giving local authorities the power to impose restrictions on the private sector and offer economic compensation.

The government now announced lifting these measures amid a continuous decrease in the numbers of infections and the lower number of hospitalizations with severe Covid-19 symptoms.

Daily infections across the country was around 50,000 during the last week, after reaching over 100,000 cases in early February, the highest since the start of the pandemic.

The rapid spread of the omicron variant led Japan to hasten the administration of the third dose of the vaccine.

Some 32 percent of the country’s population have been vaccinated with the third dose, while 80 percent have received the first two injections.

The quasi-health alert is currently in force in 18 regions, including the capital and the Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi and Kyoto prefectures.

Tokyo was under Covid restrictions for most of last year, coinciding with the Summer Olympic Games. The measures were lifted towards the end of September after the Paralympic Games concluded. EFE


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