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Japan records zero new Covid deaths for first day in 15 months



For the first time in more than a year, Japan recorded no fatalities due to Covid-19 on Sunday, signalling progress in combating the severe outbreak with vaccine rollouts this year.

Japan recorded a total of 162 new infections and zero deaths on Sunday, figures from the Asian country’s health, labour and welfare ministry showed. Of the 162 infected, at least 100 people have reported severe symptoms, official data showed.

This is the first time since 2 August last year that Japan has not reported any deaths in a day due to the coronavirus infection. On Saturday, three people had died of Covid-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Japan has reported 18,306 deaths and 1.72 million cases.

Coronavirus cases in Japan peaked during the country’s fourth and worst wave in August, after nearly 26,000 infections were recorded on 20 August on the heels of capital city Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics in July.

Japan witnessed its first wave of infections in August last year, followed by the second wave in January and a third wave of surge in infections in May. But since then, cases have dropped as the federal administration ramped up its vaccination drive and covered nearly 73 per cent of the population.

Japan displayed a stunning success in bringing the number of cases and Covid-19 deaths down after August this year when the cases in Tokyo dipped below 100 from a peak of nearly 6,000 in an 11-month low.

As it approaches a potential rebound in infections in the upcoming cold months, Japan is counting on a booster shot programme from next month.

Prime minister Fumio Kishida in October said that the country’s preparedness plan, which is expected to be compiled by early November, will focus on restrictions on activities. The plan will also require hospitals to provide more beds and staff for Covid-19 treatment, if the infections were to soar in a “worst-case scenario”.

The government is also relying on an “antibody cocktail treatment” of drugs like casirivimab and imdevimab, known to effectively treat milder cases, to lower the risks of hospitalisation and burden on health infrastructure.



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