Gov't panel approves package program of vaccine, test for COVID-19 in Japan

Source: Xinhua| 2021-11-16 19:15:12|Editor: huaxia

TOKYO, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government's advisory panel of experts on Tuesday approved the use of vaccination records and proof of negative test results to relax social restrictions.

The panel discussed the government's plan of introducing the so-called "vaccine and PCR testing package" program, containing COVID-19 vaccine records and proof of negative test results, aiming at continuing social and economic activities despite infection cases resurgence.

According to the government's draft outline, restaurants and event planners who hope to relax the rules will pre-register with prefectural governments to utilize the program. Customers or visitors will be asked to present either proof of vaccination or a negative test result when using the facilities.

The vaccine certificate would need to show the holder was injected with the second dose at least 14 days earlier, while the certificate itself would be considered as valid indefinitely.

Despite the permit for the plan, the experts warned it is still likely for those fully inoculated to get infected, even though people who tested negative.

"Breakthrough infections do happen and tests aren't perfectly accurate, so certain countermeasures will continue to be necessary even where the vaccine-test package is in use," Shigeru Omi, chair of the COVID-19 advisory body, said after a panel meeting with government officials.

They called for studies on limiting the validity of vaccine certificates.

The panel also suggested the government should mull halting the use of proof-based program if the infection situation reaches level three on a new five-point scale.

On a scale from zero to four, level three means hospitals cannot cope with COVID-19 patients unless they reduce their regular medical treatment for other diseases.

Amid concerns about infections in public places, the package program is regarded as a key part of the country's campaign to begin reviving the economy before a possible sixth wave of the pandemic strikes, expected in this winter. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Japan,COVID,19 Package