Five recent developments in Japan’s efforts to rein in the coronavirus that you may have missed:
- Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Friday evening that the country’s state of emergency will be expanded to Okinawa, which along with Hokkaido saw a record daily caseload that day, Ryusei Takahashi reports.
- Despite a recent decrease in the numbers of newly recorded COVID-19 infections each day, the situation in Kansai remains precarious, with Osaka Prefecture preparing to discuss a request to have its state of emergency extended, Eric Johnston reports.
- The top government spokesman on Sunday referred to the possibility of extending the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and seven other prefectures beyond its May 31 expiration date, probably by three weeks.
- A Japanese team said Thursday that 97% of people who caught the original strain of the coronavirus had neutralizing antibodies a year after their infection, down slightly from 98% after six months. The study, which also looked at variants, suggests people will need annual top-up vaccinations against COVID-19.
- Highlighting Japan’s sluggish response to the crisis, doctors are only now gearing up for clinical trials of convalescent plasma therapy — even after many overseas hospitals have concluded it is ineffective in treating COVID-19, Osamu Tsukimori reports.