Japan govt. to offer more detailed explanation on eased mask-wearing guidelines

The Japanese government says it plans to offer a detailed explanation on situations where it recommends people still wear face masks following its easing on Monday of coronavirus mask-wearing guidelines.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio appeared before reporters without wearing a mask on Monday morning.

Kishida said it will be up to individuals to decide whether or not to wear masks from now on. He added that he is likely to more frequently not wear a mask.

The prime minister said the government has been explaining that mask-wearing is still recommended in certain situations, such as in places without sufficient ventilation and when coming in contact with senior citizens and other people at high risk of developing serious coronavirus symptoms.

Kishida also said that it's important for the government to provide a more detailed explanation on when and where people are recommended to consider wearing masks, to prevent confusion.

COVID-19 is currently classified as equivalent to category two on Japan's five-tier scale for infectious diseases, the second most severe level.

The government will downgrade it on May 8 to category five, the lowest level, and the same as seasonal influenza.