Cases dropped dramatically after the Summer school holidays and vaccines
Akihabara on September 25 (photo: Daryl Harding)
For the first time in six months, no areas of Japan are under a State of Emergency to combat COVID-19 with restrictions easing overnight. While hospital cases remain higher than average than non-pandemic times, the number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped significantly since the summer holidays ended and as vaccinations for all ages ramped up in the region, with Japan overtaking the United States in the percentage of the population getting their first doses of the vaccinate.
Though some measures still apply for regions depending on their circumstances and at the behest of the governors of the areas, in general eateries and bars with “COVID-Safe” certification will be allowed to stay open until 9 PM and will once again be allowed to serve alcohol, but those without the certification being asked to close at 8 PM and asked not to allowed to serve drinks.
Events will be allowed to occur with up to 10,000 people or half capacity, whichever is lower, and that includes staff members. These measures are set to be in effect until October 24, when they’ll be looked at again to see what the situation is.
Yoyogi Park on September 28 (photo: Daryl Harding)
In terms of new COVID cases, Tokyo marked 218 new infections on September 30, down from nearly 6,000 cases in mid-August. Japan on a whole only recorded 1,576 new cases on September 30, down from 25,867 new COVID cases on August 20.
September 30 also marked the day that 70% of Japan's population (including those currently ineligible to get the vaccine at this time) has had at least dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 59.3% of those having both doses. This number is expected to rise over the next month as more appointments become available across Japan.
Though plans to celebrate the relaxing of restrictions have been dampened by Typhoon 16, which is currently off the coast of the Kanto region bringing heavy rains and evacuations in regions on the Pacific side of the island – though no death and heavy damage has been recorded yet.
If you or someone you know is living in Japan, coronavirus-based English resources are available at NHK World Japan.
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.