Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
As of 11 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 8
- Japan on Wednesday confirmed its fourth case of infection by the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry said.
- Afghan staff of Japanese organizations who wish to evacuate from Afghanistan will be granted special permission to enter Japan in an exemption from current COVID-19 border restrictions, government sources said Wednesday.
- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida defended the government's coronavirus response Wednesday in parliament, rejecting criticism from the leader of the main opposition party that it was too slow to submit a supplementary budget to fund economic steps to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- South Korea reported Wednesday that its daily COVID-19 case count surpassed 7,000 for the first time, with a gradual rise in the number of Omicron variant infections.
- A team of scientists at a university in western Japan has developed masks that glow when exposed to ultraviolet light if they contain traces of the coronavirus, using antibodies extracted from ostrich eggs.
Japan's economy in the July-September period shrank an annualized real 3.6 percent from the previous quarter, downgraded from the 3.0 percent contraction initially reported, government data showed Wednesday, as Tokyo, Osaka and some other prefectures were under a COVID-19 state of emergency.
As of 11 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 7
- The Tokyo metropolitan government said Tuesday it has agreed with Chinese authorities to push back through next June the return of a popular female offspring of a giant panda couple on loan from China due to difficulties with transportation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Japan's health minister said Tuesday the country has boosted its medical capacity so it can admit 37,000 patients at hospitals, up 30 percent from this summer, in preparation for a possible resurgence of the coronavirus.
- New York City said Monday it will require all private-sector workers to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus starting later this month amid growing fear of spread of the Omicron variant, becoming the first U.S. city to announce such a blanket mandate for COVID-19 shots.
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)