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Shigeru Omi, who heads the government’s coronavirus panel, and 17 other medical and economic experts on Tuesday called on the government to downgrade the classification of the coronavirus to something similar to that of seasonal flu, in order to ease the burden on hospitals and public health centers.

In a 19-page proposal, the experts also urged the government to adopt a flexible approach to COVID-19 that would prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed, such as by no longer identifying close contacts and allowing general clinics to treat patients.

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