Japan to downgrade coronavirus classification on May 8, 2023

The government of Japan has formally decided to downgrade from May 8, 2023 the legal status of the novel coronavirus to the same category as common infectious diseases, such as seasonal influenza, to ease COVID-19 prevention rules.

In a major policy shift in its response to the three-year-long pandemic, the Japanese government would be able to relax existing intensive COVID-19 measures, including limiting the movements of infected people and their close contacts.

The reclassification of COVID-19 to Class 5 came after a panel of experts under the health ministry agreed on the plan.

The imminent downgrade would pave the way for a normalization of social and economic activities in Japan, possibly enabling non-residents to enter the country without PCR tests or quarantining.