Japan’s New Covid Cases Hit 17-Month Low Amid Reopening
(Bloomberg) -- Japan reported 79 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, the lowest figure in nearly a year and a half, as the country’s robust vaccination rate is quelling infections even in the midst of reopening the world’s third-largest economy.
The country reported one death on Monday. Tokyo, its most populous city, had just 7 new cases, according to local officials. The total number of new cases country-wide is the lowest since June 23, 2020, when the first wave of Covid was brought to heel.
The number of daily cases in Japan has plunged from a peak of about 25,000 during the summer, while vaccinations have surged so much that it’s now one of the most immunized developed countries in the world. More than 75% of its 126 million people are fully vaccinated, with over 78% of the population getting at least one shot, according to Bloomberg vaccine tracker.
The rising levels of protection allowed the government to start lifting restrictions on bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in October for areas that make up 75% of the economy. It’s now considered a low-risk destination for American travelers after it was moved on Monday to the lowest rung of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 travel advisory level.
The nation, one of the world’s oldest, has a relatively god record on surviving the pandemic, with 14.5 deaths per 100,000 people. That compares with about 230 deaths per 100,000 people in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Japan reported no deaths on Nov. 7, the first time in 15 months.
As cases come down, the nation is also changing the way it categorizes the outbreak to focus on how burdened the health-care system is. It’s also easing travel restrictions and shortening the quarantine period to three days, from 10, for business travelers, Japanese nationals and foreign residents returning from abroad who are vaccinated with shots approved by local regulators.
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