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COVID-19: Japan eases rule on face mask



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Japan’s government spokesman says wearing a face mask or covering worn to check the transmission of the COVID-19 virus will no longer be necessary as long as social distancing is maintained.

“As the mercury and humidity rise in Japan, masks will not be required to be worn outside as the risk of heat stroke and heat-related illnesses could be increased,” chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, said.

Mr Matsuno added, “We recommend that people take off their masks outside as long as sufficient distance is maintained, especially when temperatures and humidity are high.’’

Japan’s government spokesperson highlighted that the government’s review of its antiviral measures would continue as the monitoring of the country’s COVID-19 infection rate in twine with virologists and medical experts.

Japan’s easing of mask-wearing came as the government planned to raise the cap on new arrivals per day from overseas to 20,000 people per day in June.

Japan’s government was arranging to double the cap on arrivals from overseas to 20,000 people per day in June, with quarantine measures for new arrivals currently under review.

Small-scale trial tours comprising overseas visitors may go into effect as early as this month, government sources were quoted as saying, with the number of visitors being granted access expanded in stages.

As Japan was experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, a ban on non-resident foreign nationals was imposed in late November.

However, the lengthy ban, the strictest among Group of Seven (G7) countries, was heavily criticised by institutions and business lobbies.