Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
As of 11 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3
- Japan's NEC Corp. will start the full-scale introduction of a vaccination certification system for COVID-19 based on facial recognition, eliminating any use of smartphone applications or documents, officials at the technology firm said Friday.
- The Japanese arm of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. said Friday it has applied for state approval for the production and sale of an oral COVID-19 drug, which if granted could be the first such pill to be used in Japan.
- New Zealand's largest city of Auckland exited a three-month lockdown on Friday, marking the country's transition to a new coronavirus response that seeks to manage virus circulation in the community.
As of 11 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 2
- The administration of President Joe Biden said Thursday it will strengthen coronavirus testing rules for those entering the United States amid concerns over the new Omicron variant, requiring international travelers to return a negative result within one day of their scheduled departure.
- The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final featuring the top-six points-earners in each discipline will be canceled due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday.
- The Japanese government said Thursday it has withdrawn its request for airlines to completely stop taking reservations for inbound international flights this month in the wake of criticism the measure against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus goes too far.
- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday admitted his government's restrictions on re-entry by Japanese citizens and foreign residents in response to the spread of the Omicron variant overseas had caused public confusion, suggesting the measures would be reviewed.
- The United States said Wednesday it has confirmed its first case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, joining a growing number of countries that have detected the strain most recently deemed a concern in the ongoing pandemic.
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)