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Japan eyes spring downgrade of COVID-19 to same level as flu

Change would ease restrictions on patients and providers

Japan's health ministry plans to keep offering COVID-19 vaccines free of charge for now.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan is discussing a possible change next spring that would place COVID-19 in the same category of infectious disease as the seasonal flu, a move that could ease the strain on health care providers.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was briefed on the progress Wednesday by health minister Katsunobu Kato and Shigeyuki Goto, minister in charge of the government's coronavirus response.

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