Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on January 20 that Japan may explore lowering COVID-19 to a less severe infectious illness and reducing its suggestion that people wear masks in public indoor locations as early as this spring.
After meeting with relevant ministers, Kishida told the media that he had asked them to study the particular parameters for reclassifying COVID-19 into the same category as seasonal influenza.
Kishida told reporters, “As we work to restore the regular lifestyles of Japan, we would like to move different policies gradually.”
A classification reduction from category 2 to category 5 would eliminate the isolation need for sick individuals and their close contacts.
In a second move foreseen by Kishida, the government would also counsel only symptomatic patients to wear masks in indoor public spaces, when it presently advises everyone to do so.
May was the last time the administration changed coronavirus measures. Then, it was stated that individuals were no longer required to wear masks outside so long as the proper social distance was maintained. Despite this, the great majority of Japanese citizens continue to wear masks in public, both outside and indoors.