Three years after the new corona epidemic began in Japan, we will be at a major turning point. Starting May 8, the new coronavirus classification will be handled the same as the seasonal flu. Finally, life after COVID will officially begin. (That said, we had been living our normal lives since about January.)
Life in Japan will change as follows.
People and companies, not the government, will be able to make their own decisions regarding behavioral restrictions. As with flu, it will be “recommended” that the patient refrain from leaving the house for five days as a period of recuperation.
Currently, public funds fully cover the costs of testing, medical care after the infection is discovered, and hospitalization, all of which are provided free of charge. That turns into a co-payment. The maximum cost is estimated at 30 USD. (In Japan, all citizens have access to health insurance, which only requires payment for 30% of medical expenses.) But the cost-prohibitive corona treatments are offered without charge until the end of September this year in order to prevent a sudden increase in the load on patients.
The vaccine will be free until the end of March next year.
The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) announces the number of new cases every day, but starting in May, it will announce the number only once a week, on Fridays. We, as individuals, will need to make decisions about infection control based on the weekly announcement.
What about the mask?
Combined with the fact that Japan is not so hot today, many people still wear masks. According to a survey of 300 people conducted by a TV program, 5.3% of the respondents always removed their masks. Basically, everyone is either “always wearing a mask” or “putting it on and taking it off,” depending on the situation. When asked if they were annoyed that others were not wearing masks, 50% said they were not, while 20% said they were, indicating that nearly 20% are still concerned about the wearing status of others.
From the 29th, a certificate of vaccine intake or negative proof is no longer required when entering Japan from overseas. Finally, the post-COVID era begins earnestly in Japan.