Kishida Vows to Focus on Domestic Measures over Omicron

Politics Lifestyle

Ise, Mie Pref., Jan. 4 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday the government will start shifting the focus of its fight against the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus to domestic measures while maintaining the basic framework of existing border controls.

"In particular, we must carefully work on COVID-19 measures," Kishida said at his New Year's press conference, held in Ise in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, after visiting Ise Jingu, a major Shinto shrine, in the city earlier in the day.

The government will review its current system in which all people infected with the omicron variant are hospitalized and all omicron close contacts are asked to stay at designated lodging facilities and monitor their health conditions, he said.

The move comes in response to calls from experts for flexible action as the current system may overburden such facilities. "We will leave the decision up to local governments to have people with the omicron variant stay at facilities or at home, depending on their symptoms, so as not to overwhelm the medical care system," Kishida said.

The government will further bolster infection prevention measures, COVID-19 testing and early treatment of patients, he added, stressing that the country will expand free testing, including polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests, and move up its schedule for the third round of vaccination.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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