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Japan Reports No COVID-19 Deaths for the First Time in 18 Months

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk at the Ginza shopping district on Tokyo, Janpan, Nov. 8, 2021.

Japanese health officials said the country reported no daily COVID-19 deaths on Sunday for the first time in more than a year.

The Health Ministry said the last time Japan reported no new coronavirus deaths was on August 2, 2020. COVID-19 cases and deaths have fallen dramatically throughout Japan as vaccinations have increased to cover more than 70% of the population.

New daily infections peaked at more than 25,000 during an August wave driven by the infectious delta variant. At least 18,000 people have died in Japan from the disease during the pandemic.

To gird against a possible rebound this winter, the government plans to start booster vaccine shots next month and is working to secure pill-based treatments for milder cases to reduce hospitalizations.

Shigeru Omi, Japan’s top health adviser, told reporters Monday that health professionals need to quickly treat any new cases with strong, intensive measures to avoid any new surges in cases.

The Japanese government also announced Monday it was easing entry restrictions for foreign students, workers and short-term business travelers who are fully vaccinated, have their activity plans guaranteed by sponsors and observe 10 days of self-isolation.

Self-quarantine for Japanese citizens and foreign residents was also shortened to three days from the previous 10 days.

Some information for this report comes by AP and Reuters.