Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Oct. 13, 2022>
- Japan's health ministry said Thursday those at low risk of developing serious coronavirus symptoms will be encouraged to use at-home test kits and online medical services this winter, when COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are expected to spread simultaneously.
- China plans to maintain its radical "zero-COVID policy" until at least next spring to lessen the risk of severe coronavirus cases and deaths among the elderly and prevent strain on the health care system, a Communist Party source said Thursday.
- Taiwan on Thursday lifted its COVID-19 quarantine requirement for travelers to remain in isolation for three days, in a move aimed at reviving its pandemic-battered tourism industry.
<Oct. 12, 2022>
- China has hinted at maintaining its radical "zero-COVID" policy even after the upcoming twice-a-decade Communist Party congress, with the party's flagship newspaper, the People's Daily, running a commentary warning against complacency with anti-virus measures for three days in a row through Wednesday.
- Japan's drastic easing of COVID-19 border controls may bode well for the pandemic-hit domestic tourism sector, but it could raise fears that the first inflow of visa-free foreign travelers in more than two years could spread infections at home further.
<Oct. 11, 2022>
- Japan's long-awaited lifting of border restrictions may not lead to a quick recovery to pre-pandemic levels for the nation's airlines, as the current weakness of the yen is expected not just to boost inbound tourism but also suppress demand for outbound trips while higher fuel costs will keep airfares high.
- Japan removed on Tuesday its cap on daily arrivals and its ban on individual, non-prearranged trips as it seeks to revive the country's struggling inbound tourism sector by easing its COVID-19 border controls.
<Oct. 7, 2022>
- The Japanese Cabinet on Friday approved a bill to penalize hospitals that fail to abide by agreements with local governments to prepare beds for patients with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases and provide outpatient care.
<Oct. 5, 2022>
- Japan's health ministry on Wednesday granted special fast-track approval to U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.'s updated coronavirus vaccine tailored to protect against the now-prevalent BA.5 subvariant.
- A sauna bathhouse featuring a shared workspace and bar has opened in Nagoya, attracting remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners and others who see it as a unique location to meet and collaborate.
<Oct. 3, 2022>
- Japanese regional airlines Airdo Co. and Solaseed Air Inc. merged their operations Monday to cut costs and effectively utilize resources amid a slump in travel demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Monday to revive the nation's pandemic-battered inbound tourism industry by setting a new goal of increasing foreign tourists' total spending to more than 5 trillion yen ($35 billion) annually.
- The Japanese government has selected 17 projects led by companies and universities to support manufacturing of vaccines when a pandemic breaks out, the industry minister announced Monday.
<Oct. 1, 2022>
- China's weeklong holiday kicked off Saturday amid a subdued mood before the ruling Communist Party's once-in-five-years congress beginning Oct. 16, with restrictions on people's movement strengthened by the leadership of President Xi Jinping under its radical "zero-COVID" policy.
<Sept. 30, 2022>
- Australia will end mandatory five-day home isolation for people infected with COVID-19 in mid-October, the government said Friday, removing one of the last remaining virus restrictions as the country moves out of the "emergency response" phase of the pandemic.
<Sept. 26, 2022>
- Japan began Monday to simplify its coronavirus reporting system by targeting elderly and high-risk people in a bid to reduce the administrative burden on hospitals and local health centers.
- Japan will run a new domestic tourism subsidy program from Oct. 11 to late December as part of efforts to spur domestic tourism and revive the coronavirus-hit economy, tourism minister Tetsuo Saito said Monday.
Japan and beyond: Week in Photos - Oct. 1~7
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)