Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<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.
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)