Japan to weigh approaching COVID-19 like the flu

Nikkei -- Jul 29
A Japanese government advisory body will look into recommending a different designation for COVID-19, such as by treating it like the flu, in order to ease disruptions to the health care system.

Japan now counts COVID-19 as separate from its 1-to-5 scale of infectious diseases, assigning it the strictest reporting requirement, public funding for treatment and other measures.

Redefining it as category 5 -- the same level as seasonal influenza -- would no longer require full reporting of case numbers. Public funding of treatment would no longer be available, so the financial burden on patients would increase.

In recommendations July 14, the panel on COVID-19 measures suggested a need "to start considering designating COVID-19 as one of many diseases."

The debate comes as Japan experiences what it calls its seventh wave of coronavirus infections, raising new cases to record highs.

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