Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the quarantine time for people who came into close contact with someone infected with Covid-19 will be reduced from the current ten days to seven days.
According to media sources, the decision was taken in the wake of the "sixth wave" of illnesses across the country caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Japan recorded 81,811 new cases on Friday, with Tokyo alone reporting 17,631, breaking new records.
According to Kishida, the decision was taken based on "professional opinions and fresh scientific facts," and that Japan must strike a balance between preventing illnesses and sustaining society's operations. Meanwhile, using a combination of two Covid-19 tests, the quarantine days for important personnel in the fields of medical treatment, police, child care, and nursing care would be decreased from six to five days, he added.
The Japanese government decreased the quarantine period from 14 to 10 days on January 14, but the business community, among others, has requested that it be reduced yet further, given the new variant's features.
According to Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the chance of developing Omicron symptoms on the 10th day following contact with the virus is less than 1%, compared to 5% on the seventh day.