Japan’s Olympians may be about to get theirs, but politicians won’t be jumping the vaccination queue — for now, at least. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan agreed Wednesday to put off a plan to prioritize lawmakers for COVID-19 jabs.
The country now has three COVID-19 vaccines and several mass inoculation sites at its disposal, but so far only around 5% of people have received a first jab. But don’t count on Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine to speed things up: J&J said Monday that although it has filed for approval in Japan, deliveries are not expected until 2022.
Meanwhile, with the government downgrading its key assessment of the economy Wednesday, another cash handout program of up to ¥100,000 for needy households may be in the works to help ease the financial strain of the prolonged crisis, Kyodo reports.
And finally, spare a thought for airline ANA, which started trials of the Travel Pass app to certify the coronavirus status of passengers from the U.S. on Monday. The same day, the U.S. State Department raised its advisory on Japan to “do not travel.”
Yesterday’s (and last Wednesday’s) new COVID-19 cases nationwide: 4,536 (5,768). By prefecture (100 or over; bold indicates rise over last week): Tokyo 743 (766), Hokkaido 551 (604), Aichi 445 (666), Osaka 331 (477), Okinawa 302 (203), Kanagawa 225 (269), Fukuoka 211 (500), Hiroshima 166 (171), Saitama 164 (192), Hyogo 140 (242), Chiba 123 (132). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker