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Japan to downgrade COVID-19 as seasonal flu in spring

Government also looks to scrap its indoor mask recommendation

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tells reporters on Jan. 20 that he has directed his cabinet to reclassify COVID-19 to the same category as seasonal flu. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday said he has directed his cabinet to reclassify COVID-19, putting it in the same category as seasonal flu, as the government looks to focus on economic recovery. The change will take place in spring.

Kishida told reporters the government will move forward with its "life with-COVID" initiatives and "gradually transition its policies to restore Japan to a state of normalcy."

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