First Omicron case detected in Japan
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Japan to downgrade legal status of COVID-19 to seasonal influenza

Japan on Thursday decided to officially downgrade the legal status of COVID-19 to the same category of seasonal influenza, with the new status coming into effect on May 8.   

The move comes as the health ministry endorsed the government’s plan to recategorize COVID-19 and downgrade its legal status to the same group as seasonal influenza.   

Ahead of the upcoming string of Golden Week holidays here, the schedule for downgrading the status of COVID-19 comes as the government is also considering lifting COVID-19-related border controls that are still in place, a week earlier than initial plans.   

With Japan expecting increasing inbound and outbound travelers during the holiday period starting Saturday, the remaining border controls may be lifted at midnight on Friday.

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