Here’s what to expect when Japan downgrades Covid-19’s classification status on May 8

The reclassification will lead to an ease in Covid-19 prevention rules, including on mask wearing and quarantine measures

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada
Associate Editor, Time Out Tokyo
Shibuya Scramble
Photo: Hai Huy Ton That/Dreamstime A photo of Shibuya Crossing taken from Shibuya Tsutaya

Just last week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed that Japan would be downgrading the Covid-19 disease classification status to the same level as the seasonal flu. As reported by The Japan Times, this change will now go into effect on Monday May 8, right after Japan’s stretch of Golden Week holidays. 

As explained in the report, Covid-19 will be officially downgraded from the Class 2 category,  which includes diseases such as tuberculosis, to the less severe Class 5, which includes the seasonal flu. Previously, Japan announced it would even consider relaxing its recommendation on wearing masks indoors if the classification of Covid-19 was lowered. 

If you’re curious what else will change when the downgrade goes into effect, here’s a short summary of what you can expect this coming spring.

  • Those infected with Covid-19 will no longer be required to isolate and quarantine
  • Close contacts to those infected will also no longer need to isolate 
  • The government will no longer be able to issue a state of emergency if Covid-19 infections rise
  • Restaurants and bars will not be encouraged to shorten business hours or close
  • More hospitals and clinics will be allowed to treat Covid-19 infected patients
  • Wearing face masks will become optional and up to your own judgement
  • Border restrictions to likely further ease (no further details have been given on this, but we will keep you posted as more information is released)

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