Japan mulls whether to allow mask removal

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Japan mulls whether to allow mask removal

TOKYO Kyodo Debate is emerging in Japan over how much longer people wear masks to fight the coronaviruses.

With the sixth domestic wave of infections on the wane, many are saying signs of impatience as countries abroad abandon face-coverings in certain situations in line with expert advice.

Some Japanese experts recommend easing restrictions, such as removing them when people are outdoors and practicing social-distancing. The government's expert panel on COVID appears to have been gathering steam on the issue, according to the government's expert panel on the issue.

On April 20, Toshio Nakagawa, president of the Japan Medical Association, spoke up for the current policy at a press conference. He said, "I don't believe the day will come in Japan when people will remove masks in a life with COVID 19." But frustration is brewing on the internet as the country enters its third year of life with mask use urged in public spaces. People on social media complain about the spread of infections, even though nearly everyone has been wearing masks and feeling of desperation. At a press conference on April 27, Nakagawa said that people should wear masks as long as the fear of infection from COVID 19 remains. Shigeyuki Goto, Minister for Health, Labor and Welfare, said that wearing masks is extremely important. During a television program on April 24, the minister for economic and fiscal policy, Daishiro Yamagiwa said he thinks masks are no longer necessary outdoors, adding that relaxing mask use in stages is a realistic prospect.

Tottori Gov. Shinji Hirai said that masks are unnecessary as long as there is enough distance between people, which is why he called for a review of measures taken so far to prevent COVID- 19, revealing that he has been publicly stressing that masks are unnecessary.

Members of the government's expert panel said there was a need to take a clear stance on the question of when to lift the mask recommendation during its meeting on April 27.

The time of either-or has gone, said Shigeru Omi, head of the panel, after the meeting.

Omi said the situation had moved on from a period of growing infections when people were uniformly advised to wear masks, and that the panel would discuss the question based on rational standards. The use of masks has become unnecessary in countries such as Britain and France, as the United States has lifted a mask mandate.

On April 26, Japan had the number of daily new infections at 40,443 and 51.8 percent of its population had been vaccinated for the third time by then, according to government data.

At the moment, there is no problem to remove masks outdoors if enough distance is maintained between people in the park or out for walks, said Atsuo Hamada, professor of infectious diseases at Tokyo Medical University.

The question is not whether people wear masks or remove masks as the risk of heatstroke increases with hotter weather, but how to respond to infections, according to Hamada.

As for the removal of masks in crowded indoor spaces, Hamada reckoned that it is essential that more than 60 percent of people in Japan be vaccine-vaccinated for the third time in Europe.

He said that the government should show a roadmap for easing the mask restriction gradually in four to five stages.