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Japanese government says face masks no longer needed outside

New Covid-19 advice is to remove masks outdoors if it isn’t crowded, especially in hot weather

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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At a press conference on Wednesday, a government spokesperson said that people no longer need to wear masks outdoors so long as they are able to maintain appropriate social distance. 

Kyodo News quotes Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno saying that, while masks continue to be essential in mitigating the spread of Covid-19, ‘We recommend that people take off their masks outside as long as sufficient distance is maintained, especially when temperatures and humidity are high.’

The call for the government to relax rules on wearing masks coincides with a push to reopen the borders for tourists this June. Discussions for revising Japan’s Covid-19 safety protocols are still underway, but there are reports that Japan could substantially loosen certain restrictions in the coming weeks. 

Japan is set to double its daily entry cap next month from 10,000 people to 20,000 people and vaccinated tourists travelling in small group tours may be allowed to enter Japan on a trial basis as early as this month. According to Nikkei Asia, the government is also considering scrapping Covid-19 tests for certain vaccinated travellers at ports of entry. 

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