Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
As of 11 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 13
- Thailand is gearing up to reopen the country from November even as its high COVID-19 rate poses a dilemma for the government, which seeks to control the pandemic while mitigating its impact on the tourism-reliant economy.
- A record 196,127 students at elementary and junior high schools across Japan were absent for 30 days or more in fiscal 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, an increase of 14,855 from the previous year, government data showed Wednesday.
- Global public debt is estimated to stand at 97.8 percent of the world's gross domestic product in 2021, 0.8 percentage point lower than a year before but still at record-high levels on the back of a massive fiscal response in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.
- Japan plans to set up a 500 billion yen ($4.4 billion) fund aimed at supporting firms developing vaccines for infectious diseases and new drugs, under the first economic package to be drawn up since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office last week, government sources said Wednesday.
- China is preparing to test tens of thousands of blood samples collected from Wuhan residents as part of efforts to look into the origins of the pandemic-causing coronavirus, CNN reported Wednesday Beijing time, citing a Chinese official.
As of 11 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12
- The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday forecast Japan's economic growth to be 2.4 percent in 2021 from a year before, down 0.4 percentage point from its July estimate as the most recent wave of coronavirus infections further curtailed business activities in the world's third largest economy.
- Several hundred people without face masks caused a disruption at the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday, ahead of a hearing of a case brought by plaintiffs opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday the government is planning to start administering third doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Japan in December and that it will shoulder the costs.
Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan
- Health ministry call center
COVID-19: 0120-565-653 (toll free)
COVID-19 Vaccines: 0120-761-770 (toll free)
-Interpreters available for English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; for Thai 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; for Vietnamese 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Health ministry's COVID-19 Vaccine Navigation website
- AMDA Medical Information Center's "Multilingual Consultation Service"
- Available in Simple Japanese and English, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's COVID-19 info
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government hotline
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (including weekends and holidays)
- Available via fax for those with hearing impairments
- Japan National Tourism Organization's "Guide for when you are feeling ill"
- Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese
- JNTO's "Japan Visitor Hotline"
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day
+81-50-3816-2787 (from overseas)