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No end to pandemic until 2022 or later: Japan gov’t expert panel

The coronavirus pandemic may not end until 2022 or later, according to an outlook presented by the head of the Japanese government’s coronavirus countermeasures subcommittee.

 

“No one knows accurately,” subcommittee chief Shigeru Omi told a House of Councillors Budget Committee session on March 19. “After the end of the year, it is likely people will have gradually come to see the coronavirus the way they do seasonal influenza.”

 

On the assumption that coronavirus vaccinations for elderly people in Japan would conclude “sometime around July,” Omi asserted that if inoculations for the general public continue to progress after that, then “by the end of this year, infection levels are expected to be lower than they are currently.”

 

But he added, “I assume infections won’t be at zero even around December (this year), and minor cluster infections may emerge every now and then.” He continued, “There will still be a long way to go before we can return to normal with absolutely no need to wear masks.

 

Omi’s comments came in response to a question from Toranosuke Katayama, a lawmaker of the conservative opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party). Sources from mainichi.jp.