Governors call for downgrade of COVID-19 infection category

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A face-to-face meeting of the National Governors’ Association held for the first time in three years on Thursday in Nara City

NARA — A number of governors called for a review of Japan’s classification of COVID-19 under the Infectious Disease Control Law, seeking to lower it from its current status as a Category II Infectious Disease, or the second strictest ranking on a five-tier scale, during a meeting of the National Governors’ Association that kicked off in Nara City on Thursday.

Diseases under Category II require an “active epidemiological investigation” to keep track of the activities of all infected persons. This has caused an increase in the number of close contacts who have to stay home for self-quarantine.

Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa insisted that “Social and economic activities are about to stop.”

Hokkaido Gov. Naomichi Suzuki said, “Given that 99% of the cases for the omicron variant of the coronavirus are mild or asymptomatic, we must discuss whether it is necessary to identify all cases.”

The association has urged the central government to provide a stable supply of virus test kits and plans to draw up a proposal for urgent measures.