Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
As of 11 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 18
- South Korea strengthened restrictions on dining and private gatherings on Saturday in response to a surge in coronavirus cases, with the government urging the public to get booster vaccine shots so they can be better protected against highly contagious variants.
- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Saturday Japan will extend its tight entry rules until at least early next year to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
- Japanese comedienne Naomi Watanabe tested positive for coronavirus in New York but is on her way to recovery, her management office said Saturday.
- Kumamon, the popular black bear-like mascot of southwestern Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture, is being used to teach hygiene to Indian children while dancing to a Hindi song in a video recently released by Japan's aid agency, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As of 11 p.m., Friday, Dec. 17
- A man in his 20s was confirmed infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the Tokyo metropolitan government said Friday, adding that he had visited a stadium to watch a soccer game.
- The Bank of Japan decided Friday to scale back its COVID-19 funding support as financing conditions have been improving among large firms, while leaving its ultraloose monetary policy unchanged amid uncertainty over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday asked Pfizer Inc. to bring forward Japan's contracted supply of coronavirus vaccine, a government official said.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may struggle over the next 10 years to rebuild the country's economy hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, after he tried to cement his authority at home for the past decade since becoming the supreme leader.
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)