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In a bid to speed up Japan’s slow-moving COVID-19 immunization program, the government said Tuesday it will set up a large-scale vaccination site in Tokyo where Self-Defense Forces medics are expected to administer Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.

While local vaccination sites are relying exclusively on shots developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the state-run center is looking to tap into Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines as soon as they are approved, Tomohiro Osaki reports.

Although Japan has only approved the Pfizer vaccine thus far, the health ministry has now given the OK to three drugs for treating COVID-19 patients, with the latest being baricitinib, a rheumatoid drug.

A security guard stands in an entertainment district in Tokyo calling for people to stay home after the capital was put under a fresh state of emergency. | AFP-JIJI
A security guard stands in an entertainment district in Tokyo calling for people to stay home after the capital was put under a fresh state of emergency. | AFP-JIJI

In Osaka, 1,231 new COVID-19 cases were reported Tuesday, the second highest figure on record. Tokyo reported 828 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, more than 100 higher than the 711 cases reported the same day last week.

Japan remains a destination to which U.S. citizens should “reconsider travel,” the State Department said Monday based on its latest travel advisory assessment — not that anyone except residents can realistically enter the country right now.

Tuesday’s (and last Tuesday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (60 or over): Osaka 1,231 (1,153), Tokyo 828 (711), Hyogo 505 (427), Aichi 281 (190), Fukuoka 277 (151), Kanagawa 212 (157), Saitama 183 (207), Chiba 129 (106), Hokkaido 121 (106), Kyoto 112 (120), Okinawa 86 (115), Nara 74 (80). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

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