Japan to downgrade COVID classification as it seeks to ‘live with the virus’ – The Japan Times

Japan will downgrade the legal classification of COVID-19 this spring — bringing an end to quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 patients — and review border controls and mask recommendations, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Friday, marking a major policy change nearly three years since the start of the pandemic.

Though the exact timing has yet to be decided, the government will downgrade COVID-19 from the current Class II to Class V under the Infectious Diseases Control Law, putting it on par with the seasonal flu, Kishida said.

The government will decide how to lift a range of pandemic measures after consulting a panel of medical experts under the health ministry, the prime minister told a news conference after meeting with ministers involved in the nation’s COVID-19 response.

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