Japan's COVID advisor says WHO's decision appropriate

Japan's chief advisor on the coronavirus has commented on the World Health Organization's decision to no longer classify COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern.

Speaking on Friday, Omi Shigeru described the move as appropriate. But he also warned that the change does not mean infections are over.

Omi, who heads the government's advisory panel on the pandemic, pointed out that cases have gradually declined around the world, adding that fewer fatalities pose less of a burden on healthcare providers.

Japanese authorities have reclassified COVID-19 as an infectious disease on par with the seasonal flu. The downgrade takes effect on May 8.

Omi said his advice remains the same. He's urging people to draw on their experiences from the past few years to make judgements, and refrain from high-risk activities.