Japan issues final daily report on COVID deaths

Japan's health ministry will no longer issue daily reports on the nationwide number of deaths caused by the coronavirus.

The government officially downgraded COVID-19 to a low-level infectious disease on Monday. It is now ranked alongside seasonal influenza. The last daily announcement of the number of infections was made the same day.

The final daily report on the number of deaths and seriously ill patients was released on Tuesday.

From now on, 5,000 designated medical institutions across Japan will be asked to report the number of weekly infections that they recorded the previous week. The health ministry will release the figures every Friday, starting on May 19.

The ministry says it will use demographic statistics to identify trends in the number of deaths. It says it will take two months to compile the total number of deaths, and five months to compile a breakdown of deaths by cause.

The ministry says it will continue to announce the number of inpatients and seriously ill people every week.

The figures will be based on reports from all medical institutions across Japan, as the ministry wants to prevent medical systems from becoming overwhelmed.

The health ministry confirmed 25 deaths and 83 seriously ill patients on Tuesday. The total number of deaths from the coronavirus in Japan stood at 74,694.