As the country enters a seventh wave of infections caused by the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron sub-variant, the daily COVID-19 cases in Japan topped 100,000 for the first time since early February. Government officials announced on the same day that all medical personnel and workers at elderly care facilities will be eligible to receive fourth COVID-19 vaccine shots as the daily count rose near a record high of about 104,000.
Across the country, infections have spread rapidly, with Tokyo reporting 19,059 new cases on Friday, more than doubling the previous week’s numbers. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said there are no plans to impose restrictions on COVID-19 infections after the number of cumulative cases surpassed 10 million the previous day.
With the expansion of vaccine coverage, 8 million more people will be eligible for the shots. This is in addition to seniors and people between 18 and 59 who have illnesses and are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms. At a government meeting on the Coronavirus response, Kishida stated that younger people would also be vaccinated. Inoculations are expected to start next week, aimed at protecting high-risk groups and ensuring enough personnel to provide treatment and care.
More than 100 free COVID-19 testing spots will be set up by the government at major train stations, airports, and other locations so people can be tested before traveling during summer vacation. As part of the government’s coordinated response to COVID-19, Kishida emphasized the need for maximum caution while keeping the economy going.