With hospitals and clinics overwhelmed with people who want to be tested or treated for COVID-19 amid a steep rise in cases, calls are once again growing to downgrade the disease from a level similar to the strict category of Class II to something closer to Class V, which includes seasonal flu.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said late last month that although he is not thinking of downgrading the classification while the virus is spreading, he will consider it at a later date after consulting with experts, with reports indicating his administration may indeed take that course of action once the current wave subsides.

In mid-July, the government’s coronavirus subcommittee also proposed that the government should start considering a change in category such that COVID-19 could be treated at general medical facilities.