Asia Pacific

Japan has zero daily COVID-19 deaths for first time in 15 months - media

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People walk at a crossing in Shibuya shopping area, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Androniki Christodoulou

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TOKYO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Japan recorded no daily deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in more than a year on Sunday, local media said.

Prior to Sunday, there had not been a day without a COVID-19 death since Aug. 2, 2020, according to a tally by national broadcaster NHK.

COVID-19 cases and deaths have fallen dramatically throughout Japan as vaccinations have increased to cover more than 70% of the population.

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New daily infections peaked at more than 25,000 during an August wave driven by the infectious Delta variant. The country has had more than 18,000 deaths from the disease during the course of the pandemic.

To gird against a possible rebound this winter, the government plans to start booster vaccine shots next month and is working to secure pill-based treatments for milder cases to reduce hospitalisations.

Shigeru Omi, the nation's top health adviser, on Monday sketched out a new scale for measuring the seriousness of coronavirus infections and a tool for predicting the hospital beds that may be needed in a new wave.

"We've learned over the past two years that we need to take strong, fast and intensive measures," Omi told reporters.

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Reporting by Rocky Swift; editing by Richard Pullin and Giles Elgood

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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