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Japan panel demands COVID-19 curb easing ‘in stages’

The number of new infection cases in the country has kept declining thanks to progress in vaccinations and thorough infection countermeasures. (AFP)
The number of new infection cases in the country has kept declining thanks to progress in vaccinations and thorough infection countermeasures. (AFP)
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21 Oct 2021 12:10:11 GMT9
21 Oct 2021 12:10:11 GMT9

TOKYO: An advisory board of the health ministry demanded Wednesday that COVID-19 restrictions in Japan, including shorter operating hours at restaurants, should be relaxed “in stages.”

The advisory board warned that the novel coronavirus is resurging in some other countries where people were vaccinated quickly and restrictions were then eased sharply.

“There are concerns that the number of new cases will decline at a slower pace or even stop falling,” the panel said, noting that more and more people are out at night in many areas in Japan.

Still, the number of new infection cases in the country has kept declining thanks to progress in vaccinations and thorough infection countermeasures, it said.

“We can take it that we have reached a stage where progress in vaccinations is improving the infection situation,” Takaji Wakita, chief of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, who heads the advisory board, told a press conference.

“It is possible that infections among children aged 12 or younger and unvaccinated people will spread the virus, just like what happened in Britain,” Wakita said, adding that strong countermeasures will be needed if a resurgence puts strains on the hospital bed capacity.

In the week through Tuesday, the number of new infection cases per 100,000 people stood at 2.67 nationwide.

By prefecture, the figure came to 2.50 for Saitama, 1.87 for Chiba, 2.60 for Tokyo and 2.62 for Kanagawa, all down week on week.

But the number increased from 2.36 to 3.39 for Hokkaido and from 9.64 to 11.91 for Okinawa.

JIJI Press

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