Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Aug. 6, 2022>
- An annual star festival in the northeastern Japan city of Sendai, known for its hundreds of brilliant hanging decorations in shopping areas, commenced Saturday with the biggest crowds expected since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
- U.S. President Joe Biden continues to test positive for the novel coronavirus, although he feels "very well" and his cough has nearly resolved, his physician said Friday.
<Aug. 5, 2022>
- The Japanese government plans to roll out a new type of COVID-19 vaccine considered effective for the Omicron variant as early as October, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.
<Aug. 3, 2022>
- Japan reported 249,830 daily coronavirus cases Wednesday, hitting a record tally as the quickly soaring number renewed concerns over a straining medical system.
- Resurging COVID-19 has hit many close aides to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, raising concern about day-to-day operations and the risk of him getting infected.
<Aug. 2, 2022>
- A group of Japanese health experts on Tuesday urged the government to speed up its review of measures against COVID-19, including changing ways to collect infection numbers and allowing general medical institutions to treat patients.
<July 31, 2022>
- U.S. President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again on Saturday in what his doctor described as a "rebound" case after taking antiviral medication, the White House said.
<July 30, 2022>
- Japan is considering altering COVID-19 measures, including a potential change in the collection of infection numbers, in a bid to lessen the burden on hospitals as they strain under a resurgence of the coronavirus across the country, government sources said Saturday.
- North Korea on Saturday reported there were no new fever cases, with the figure hitting zero for the first time since the country confirmed its first coronavirus case on May 12, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
<July 29, 2022>
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday that the government still has no plans to impose COVID-19 restrictions on people's movements despite recent record infections caused by the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron subvariant.
- The Japanese government said it will enable local governments to issue declarations urging precautionary steps against the spread of the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron subvariant of the coronavirus, particularly by the most vulnerable.
<July 28, 2022>
- Japan reported 233,100 daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, hitting a new record for the second consecutive day, raising concern about the strain on the medical system as the number of available designated hospital beds continues to decline.
- China decided Thursday to maintain its strict "zero-COVID" policy for the second half of 2022 as leaders pledged efforts to achieve the best possible results for the world's second-largest economy, state-run media reported.
- Japan had the world's highest number of new coronavirus cases in the week to July 24 with more than 969,000, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
- U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday he is returning to work in person after recovering from COVID-19, less than a week after the 79-year-old was found to have been infected with the virus.
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)