Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<April 27, 2022>
- Omicron's BA.2 subvariant has come to account for about 90 percent of new coronavirus cases in the country, an estimate by an experts panel at the health ministry showed Wednesday.
- Japan should aim to normalize its coronavirus travel controls for foreigners as soon as possible, some members of a government panel said Wednesday, calling for a gradual reopening of its borders for tourists to boost the economy.
- China's radical "zero-COVID" policy is believed to be undermining public support for the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who is seeking to secure a controversial third term as the country's leader later this year, critics say.
- A Japanese health ministry panel approved Wednesday a plan to initially administer fourth COVID-19 vaccine shots only to the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions.
- U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but has exhibited no symptoms and has not been in close contact with President Joe Biden, the White House said.
<April 25, 2022>
- People in Beijing's biggest district of Chaoyang, where a large number of foreign expats live, tried to stock up on enough food on Monday amid mounting fears about a possible lockdown, as the Chinese capital began carrying out mass COVID-19 tests in the central area.
- Over half of Japan's population has received their third COVID-19 vaccine dose, with 86.9 percent of those aged 65 and above vaccinated, government data showed Monday.
<April 24, 2022>
- The chief of the International Monetary Fund's Japan mission believes the yen's rapid recent slide could hamper the pandemic-stricken Japanese economy from returning to a steady growth pathway by raising import costs and hurting consumer spending.
<April 21, 2022>
- Japan's government on Thursday upgraded its key economic assessment for the first time in four months, citing a recovery in private consumption, as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic wane.
<April 20, 2022>
- A record 54.3 percent of students at elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan said they lacked motivation to study last year, a private survey showed Wednesday, apparently reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in stifling social interaction.
- A man who claims to be one of the leaders of the Japanese arm of U.S. conspiracy cult QAnon was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of forcing his way earlier this month into a venue offering coronavirus vaccinations for children in Tokyo, police said.
<April 19, 2022>
- Japan is considering making the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions eligible for fourth coronavirus vaccine shots, in line with recommendations by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, government sources said Tuesday.
- Japan's health ministry Tuesday formally approved the use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the U.S. biotechnology firm Novavax Inc., with deliveries of the drug to local governments expected to start in late May, and shots might also begin that month.
- A prolonged lockdown in China's commercial and trade hub of Shanghai may disrupt the global supply chain, dealing a crushing blow to the world's economy that has already lost its recovery momentum following Russia's war on Ukraine.
<April 18, 2022>
- A panel of experts at Japan's health ministry approved Monday the use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the U.S. biotechnology firm Novavax Inc.
- China has decided to suspend the full promotion of President Xi Jinping's ambitious "common prosperity" policy for the time being, with the economy slowing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a Chinese source familiar with the matter said Monday.
- The coronavirus lockdown in Shanghai is forcing Japanese retailers to halt operations in the Chinese commercial and financial hub, while Japanese manufacturers have also been affected including through supply-chain disruptions.
- China's economy grew 4.8 percent from a year earlier during the January to March period, official data showed Monday, but the economic outlook has become dimmer due largely to the country's radical "zero COVID" policy.
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)