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Japan weighs downgrading COVID-19 despite record-high deaths

Move would happen in April or May with big implications for patients, hospitals

Many in Japan have continued to wear masks even as alarm over the pandemic has abated. (Photo by Kosuke Imamura)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is set to decide Friday on whether to drop COVID-19 to its least serious category of infectious diseases this spring, Nikkei has learned.

The reclassification, which would put it on par with seasonal flu, would lead to major changes in how Japan responds to COVID-19, including public assistance for health care providers and patients, as well as quarantine guidelines.

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