Japan to reduce quarantine days for close Covid contacts

Tokyo, Jan 29 : Japan will further reduce the quarantine period from the current 10 days to seven days for people who came in close contact with someone infected with Covid-19, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. The decision was made amid the "sixth wave" of infections across the country due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, reports Xinhua news agency. On Friday, Japan logged 81,811 new cases, with Tokyo alone reporting 17,631, once again setting new records. Kishida said the decision was made in light of "expert opinions and new scientific evidence", adding that Japan needs to strike a balance between curbing infections and maintaining functions in the society. The quarantine days for essential workers in the area of medical treatment, police, child care and nursing care, meanwhile, will be reduced from the current six days to five days through using a combination of two Covid-19 tests, he said. On January 14, the Japanese government reduced the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, but the business community among others asked for further shortening, in light of the new variant's characteristics. According to Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the possibility of developing symptoms from Omicron is less than 1 per cent on the 10th day after having contact with the virus, compared with 5 per cent on the seventh day. /IANS


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