Kishida Instructs Ministers to Consider Lowering COVID Classification

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters on Friday at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday made a step toward normalizing social activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic by instructing Cabinet ministers to consider the specifics to lower the classification of COVID-19. Currently, the level of COVID-19 is equivalent to Category II, the second-highest, and its classification could be lowered to Category V, which includes seasonal influenza, around spring.

Kishida also instructed the ministers to review the guidelines on wearing masks.

Lowering the classification of COVID-19 to Category V will mark a major turning point in the government’s efforts to normalize social activities.

The Infectious Diseases Control Law classifies infectious diseases from Category I-V based on their level of risk. There is also a category for “new types of influenza and other infectious diseases,” which includes COVID-19 and is equivalent to Category II.