With continuous decrease in Covid-19 Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recenly stated that the country will consider downgrading Covid-19 to the same category as seasonal influenza, CNN reported. Kishida said that he had instructed his administration and the Health Ministry to look into the consequences of the move. It must be noted that Japan is still facing 1,00,000 coronavirus cases per day, the CNN report claimed. Currently, Covid is given the second rank which is equal to tuberculosis and avian influenza. Further, the officials plan to put it at the fifth rank, equaling seasonal influenza, CNN reported quoting Japan’s Health Ministry.
“In order to further advance the efforts of `living with Corona` and restore Japan to a state of normalcy, we will transition the various policies and measures to date in phases,” Kishida said. In October last year, Japan reopened its borders to foreigners which were closed since last year. This ended one of the strictest border controls in the world, according to CNN. The risk of death or hospitalization from Covid-19 is greatly reduced for most people due to high levels of vaccination and population immunity from previous infections, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said.
On the other hand, World Health Organization still counts Covid as a Pandemic and reiterated in its latest update a recommendation for people to wear masks following recent exposure or close contact with Covid-19, and for “anyone in a crowded, enclosed, or poorly ventilated space” to do the same. Prior to this, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on governments last week to continue sharing the sequencing data of the coronavirus, as it remained vital to detect and track the emergence and spread of new variants.
WHO director said that although it is understandable that countries cannot maintain the same level of testing and sequencing which was there during the Omicron variant. However, we cannot ignore the threat of Covid expecting it to go away. Prior to this, a Japanese health expert issued a stark warning and said the daily new coronavirus cases could spike after mid-January, possibly surpassing the previous record.
Daily Covid tally could reach the Japanese government’s earlier projection of 4,50,000 nationwide, according to Toho University Professor Tateda Kazuhiro, who is on the government`s coronavirus advisory panel. On January 6, the Japanese health ministry confirmed 456 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide, the highest single-day toll in the country since the start of the pandemic. The earlier record was 420 on December 29, 2022.
(With inputs from ANI)