Japan considers downgrading Covid-19 to similar stage as seasonal flu | CNN


Japan will think about 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 ‘dwelling with Corona’ and restore Japan to a state of normalcy, we are going to transition the varied insurance policies and measures so far in phases,” Kishida stated.

Whereas day by day Covid-19 circumstances in Japan have declined in current 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 line with Japan’s Well being Ministry. Officers will now focus on 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 totally different viruses and require testing to substantiate a prognosis, america’ Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) says on its web site.

Based on the CDC, the chance of loss of life or hospitalization from Covid-19 is drastically decreased for most individuals because 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 individuals to put on masks following current 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 observe the emergence and unfold of recent variants.

“It’s comprehensible that international locations can’t keep the identical ranges of testing and sequencing they’d in the course of 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 amenities. The modifications will take impact on January 30, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo stated Friday.

The measure might 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 steady, KDCA added.

The company has strongly really useful individuals put on masks if they’ve Covid-19 associated signs, belong to a high-risk group, have been involved lately with a constructive case, or are in a crowded house.

Masks will still be required on public transport and in health facilities after South Korea eases its indoor mask mandate on January 30, 2023.

The prime minister stated the easing of the mandate might end in a brief surge of recent circumstances and urged well being authorities to remain vigilant.

South Korea has scrapped most of its pandemic restrictions and eased its out of doors masks mandate in Might 2022. It nonetheless requires individuals who take a look at constructive to bear seven days of residence isolation.

The nation has additionally restricted journey from mainland China and carried out testing necessities for individuals arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macau following Beijing’s easing of Covid restrictions.

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