Japan not to tighten COVID-19 restriction measures despite Omicron community spread

2021-12-23 14:33

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TOKYO, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Japan will not tighten COVID-19 restrictions immediately despite the community transmission of the Omicron variant, as the government has taken full-fledged measures against it, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Thursday.

"At the moment, we are not thinking about making any change to the eased restrictions on people's activities, but we plan to respond speedily by working with municipalities and experts by taking infection situations into account," the top government spokesman told a regular press conference.

Japan's Osaka Prefecture on Wednesday reported three cases infected with the new variant through unknown routes.

With no history of overseas travel, the three family members -- a male elementary school teacher, a woman in her 30s, and a girl under 10 years old -- were admitted to a hospital after developing mild symptoms such as fever between Saturday and Monday, according to the local government.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his government has been fully prepared for the spread of the strain. "Using the time we bought through strengthened border control, we have accelerated efforts to enhance the process of prevention, testing, and early treatment," he said at a gathering in Tokyo.

Japan has banned new entries by foreigners globally from Nov. 30 and extended the measure until early next year amid uncertainties of the Omicron variant.

The prime minister also said he has led efforts to secure enough hospital beds and hotel rooms for COVID-19 infections as well as strengthened cooperation among medical institutions.
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