Japanese govt. panel approves plan to shorten COVID isolation period

Japan's coronavirus advisory panel has approved the government's plan to shorten the self-isolation period for COVID patients.

The panel gave its approval at a meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Government officials have decided to reduce the self-isolation period of coronavirus patients with symptoms to seven days from the current 10 days. The period for patients with no symptoms will be cut to five days from the current seven days as long as they test negative.

The panel also approved the government's plan to introduce a simplified system for reporting new cases nationwide, starting from September 26.

Other plans approved include easing restrictions on the movement of patients recuperating at home. Those who have had little-to-no symptoms for more than 24 hours will be allowed to make essential outings.

Yamagiwa Daishiro, the minister in charge of coronavirus measures, noted that the number of infections has been steadily declining across the country, and the burden on the healthcare system is also showing signs of easing.

The minister said the government will continue its shift to a new stage of coexistence with the coronavirus, and step up efforts to strike a balance between anti-infection measures and social and economic activities.

The government will make an official decision on the new measures later in the day.