Downgrading the deadly Covid-19’s legal status to seasonal flu will trigger more infections, putting millions at long Covid and death risk for people in Japan, the media reported on Saturday.
Teachers, health experts and other citizens voiced anxieties over the downgrading of Covid as flu this spring, reports Japan Today.
“I am afraid we may no longer be able to protect the safety of children. If quarantine no longer becomes a requirement for infected people, I am afraid there is a risk of those around being infected,” a school teacher was quoted as saying in the report.
The country has downgraded Covid-19 from “equivalent to Class 2” to a Class 5 disease, the same level as seasonal influenza.
“The government is set to review current rules on the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” the report mentioned.
A teacher at a public elementary school in Osaka Prefecture said several of his fellow teachers are doubtful of the government’s policy to review the categorisation of COVID-19 as the number of coronavirus infections remains high.
As there are still students developing a fever, the “government should make a decision when the infection status calms down”, he said.
Health experts also questioned the government’s move to downgrade the status of Covid-19.
“It is too hasty to judge that the coronavirus pandemic is coming to an end by looking at the current numbers. There are likely cases of underreporting and people who refrained from going to the doctor,” said Yoshikazu Nakamura, a professor in public health at Jichi Medical University.
On Friday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the country will consider revising the pandemic restrictions as early as this spring, downgrading Covid-19 to the same category as seasonal flu.
“In order to further advance the efforts of ‘living with Corona’ and restore Japan to a state of normalcy, we will transition the various policies and measures to date in phases,” Kishida told reporters.
The decision came as Japan has seen a drop in Covid cases in recent weeks.