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.

“To be able to additional advance the efforts of ‘dwelling with Corona’ and restore Japan to a state of normalcy, we are going to transition the assorted insurance policies and measures up to now in phases,” Kishida stated.

Whereas every 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 focus on 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 widespread 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 substantiate a prognosis, the US’ Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) says on its web site.

In line with the CDC, the danger of demise or hospitalization from Covid-19 is drastically lowered for most individuals as a consequence 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 suggestion for individuals 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 information of the coronavirus, because it remained very important to detect and monitor the emergence and unfold of latest 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 received’t,” he stated.

The information got here as South Korea introduced it’s going to carry 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 Yr vacation, when a lot of persons 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 secure, KDCA added.

The company has strongly beneficial individuals put on masks if they’ve Covid-19 associated signs, belong to a high-risk group, have been in touch not too long ago with a optimistic case, or are in a crowded area.

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 may end in a short lived surge of latest instances 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 check optimistic to bear seven days of house isolation.

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

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