Japan Considers Downgrading COVID-19 to the Same Level as Flu - Choice Clips
Choice Clips

Japan Considers Downgrading COVID-19 to the Same Level as Flu

Japan to downgrade Covid-19 status to same level as seasonal flu This change, which will take effect in spring, could mean the end of having to wear masks indoors

As Japan experiences its eighth wave of infections, the government is considering downgrading COVID-19 to the same level as seasonal flu. This downgrade would mean that COVID-19 would join the ranks of category 5 diseases, which would potentially lead to less restrictive measures such as travel restrictions and hospitalizations. This debate comes at a time when other countries are beginning to view COVID-19 more as an everyday health risk rather than a crisis response.

What Does Downgrading Mean?
Downgrading COVID-19 from its current classification of a category 2 disease to the same level as seasonal flu in category 5 could represent a major shift in how Japan deals with the virus going forward. Currently, category 2 diseases can be classified by the government as either “infectious” or “non-infectious” depending on their severity and the potential for spread. If COVID-19 is downgraded, it will be classified similarly to tuberculosis and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

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The implications of this downgrade are far reaching; while it may mean fewer restrictions on travel and hospitalizations, it could also mean that people take less care to protect themselves against infection. In addition, should there be another surge in cases due to people not taking adequate precautions against infection, medical services may become overwhelmed and unable to cope with demand if they are already stretched thin due to other infectious diseases.

What Will Happen Next?
The decision about whether or not to downgrade rests with Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kishida who is expected take all factors into consideration before making his decision. He will need to consider both sides of the argument; on one hand, downgrading could lead people away from taking necessary precautions against infection, while on the other hand it could allow for more freedom of movement and less restriction on activities such as travel and hospitalization for those infected with COVID-19.

Downgrading COVID-19 from its current classification of a Category 2 disease has far reaching implications for how Japan deals with this virus going forward. With Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kishida weighing both sides of this issue – increased freedoms vs increased public safety – we will have to wait until he makes his decision before we can see what changes will take place in Japan’s handling of this pandemic situation. Regardless of what happens though, it is important that everyone continues to take necessary precautions against infection in order to protect themselves and others from any further spread of this virus.


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