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 overview guidelines on face masks and different pandemic measures.
“In an effort to additional advance the efforts of ‘residing with Corona’ and restore Japan to a state of normalcy, we’ll transition the assorted insurance policies and measures thus far in phases,” Kishida stated.
Whereas each day Covid-19 instances 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 keeping with Japan’s Well being Ministry. Officers will now talk about reclassifying it to Class 5 – the bottom rank, which incorporates seasonal flu.
Japan totally 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 sicknesses with simlar signs, however they’re brought on by totally different viruses and require testing to verify a analysis, the USA’ Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) says on its web site.
In response to the CDC, the chance of demise or hospitalization from Covid-19 is enormously 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 area” to do the identical.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus referred to as on governments final week to proceed sharing the sequencing knowledge of the coronavirus, because it remained very important to detect and observe the emergence and unfold of recent variants.
“It’s comprehensible that nations can not keep the identical ranges of testing and sequencing they’d through the Omicron peak. On the similar time, the world can not shut its eyes and hope this virus will go away. It gained’t,” he stated.
The information got here as South Korea introduced it can elevate its masks mandate for many indoor areas, with exceptions for public transport and well being services. The adjustments will take impact on January 30, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo stated Friday.
The measure shall be lifted after the Lunar New 12 months vacation, when numerous individuals are anticipated to journey, the Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company (KDCA) stated.
New Covid-19 instances, extreme instances and associated deaths are all declining and the nation’s medical response capability stays steady, KDCA added.
The company has strongly really helpful folks put on masks if they’ve Covid-19 associated signs, belong to a high-risk group, have been in touch lately with a constructive case, or are in a crowded area.
The prime minister stated the easing of the mandate might end in a brief surge of recent instances 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 check constructive to endure seven days of house 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.