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Japan to ease COVID curbs despite spike in new cases

Self-isolation for close contacts to be as short as three days

Hospital beds for COVID patients will increase to 50,000 from 46,000 during the peak of the previous wave of infections. (Photo by Riku Tazaki)

TOKYO -- Japan announced plans Friday to relax restrictions on close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19, reducing the self-isolation period to as short as three days.

Under the new rules, those who test negative on the second and third day after close contact will no longer need to quarantine. The previous threshold had been five days. The self-isolation period for untested close contacts will be shortened from seven days to five.

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