Japan eyes spring downgrade of COVID-19 to same level as flu

TOKYO, Dec 30 (Nikkei) - Japan is discussing a possible change next spring that would place COVID-19 in the same category of infectious disease as the seasonal flu, a move that could ease the strain on health care providers.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was briefed on the progress Wednesday by health minister Katsunobu Kato and Shigeyuki Goto, minister in charge of the government's coronavirus response.

COVID-19 is now classified along with such diseases as tuberculosis and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in the second-most-serious category out of five. The government can recommend hospitalizations and restrict travel in order to limit their spread.

Seasonal flu ranks in category 5. Other countries have started to move from a crisis response to a view of COVID-19 as an everyday health risk. ...continue reading

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