Japan scraps COVID border measures as ‘Golden Week’ holiday rush begins


Country also downgrades COVID-19 legal status to seasonal flu legal status

Japan lifted COVID-19 border measures and allowed all arrivals to enter the country without showing proof of vaccination or negative test results as the country’s “Golden Week” holidays began.

Golden Week is one of the busiest times in Japan, from April 29th to May 5th, with four national holidays in the same week. Japan is expected to see an influx of tourists during this period.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced On Saturday, Japan no longer requires visitors to submit vaccination records or negative COVID-19 test results within 72 hours of departure.

Japan has also lifted the random testing requirement for visitors from China, introduced earlier this year after COVID-19 cases surged in China when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) abruptly lifted its “zero COVID” measures. abolished.

The ministry said the random testing requirement will be replaced with testing on arrival for those showing symptoms. This is the same measure that applies to all other travelers.

local media Said The government originally planned to abolish border controls on May 8, the same day that COVID-19 status would be downgraded, but decided to bring forward the plan due to Golden Week.

Japan is also finished Mask wearing rules in March.

Japan officially downgrades COVID-19 status

The new coronavirus infection is currently classified as a special case of “type 2 or higher” in Japan, and strict measures such as restrictions on movement of infected people and close contacts are being taken.

The health ministry said on Thursday that the COVID-19 condition will be downgraded to a class 5 illness on May 8. This will treat the disease like seasonal flu and eliminate quarantine rules.

“The special measures that the government has taken in response to the new coronavirus will end on May 7,” Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference. Joint communication.

A panel of experts endorsed the decision to downgrade COVID-19, citing the country’s health system as it prepares for a comeback. They said Japan has about 8,400 medical institutions that can accommodate up to 58,000 COVID patients.

The ninth wave of COVID-19

Infectious disease experts previously warned Japan could face ‘9th wave’ or ‘bigger than 8th wave’ of COVID-19 infections, Kyodo News report.

At the April 19 Advisory Committee meeting, Kato said there had been an increase in the number of cases involving the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant.

Epoch Times photo
Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Katsunobu Kato, wearing a face mask, addresses the Budget Committee meeting at the House of Representatives in Tokyo on April 28, 2020. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Kato said, “There is a possibility that the infection will spread toward this summer. Japan reported 13,094 New case on Wednesday.

A panel of experts warned Japan’s death rate could be higher than in other countries due to its aging population, and advised the government to take steps to control the spread of the virus.

“We need to continue to take measures for the elderly who are at high risk of death.” [from the virus]and those with underlying medical conditions,” they said.

XBB is a recombinant of two subvariants derived from the Omicron BA.2 subvariant. This means that genetic data from two versions of the virus derived from his BA.2 that simultaneously infected humans combined during the viral replication process to form the new his XBB subtype. increase.

A Japanese researcher stated in a paper Posted To the preprint server bioRxiv on December 27, 2022, their findings indicate that XBB is “the first documented SARS-CoV-2 variant that increases fitness through recombination rather than through single mutations.” ” suggests that

The researchers also said their results indicated that XBB was “highly contagious” and highly resistant to the immunity induced by people who experienced previous Omicron subspecies breakthrough infections. He said he was suggesting that

Naveen Athrappully and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.