Govt panel OK’s vaccine, testing verification system

A government panel on Tuesday approved an outline of the government’s so-called vaccine and testing package, under which COVID-19 restrictions are eased if people have proof of vaccination or a negative test for coronavirus.

“We are working to realize a new way of life, in which economic and social activities continue during the implementation of measures to lower the risk of infection,” economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa said at the panel’s meeting.

According to the outline, restaurants and event organizers who want to take advantage of the eased restrictions under the verification system will have to register with prefectural governments in advance. Their customers will have to present a negative test result or a vaccination certificate proving that at least 14 days have passed since they received their second shot.

Pictures or photocopies of vaccination records will be accepted, and ID cards will be used for verification purposes.

PCR testing is recommended for people who are not fully vaccinated. Results are valid for up to three days after testing. People without PCR test results will be able to take qualitative antigen tests at event sites and other places, the results of which are valid for one day.

Children under 6 will not need to be tested if they are accompanied by a guardian.

Under the verification system, even in the event of a state of emergency, approved restaurants would not have to restrict group dining, and full capacity would be allowed at events if organizers implement such safety measures as banning cheering.

However, if a sudden surge in infections puts pressure on medical services, the central and prefectural governments might decide to stop the system and strongly urge people to refrain from social activities.