Japanese PM tests positive for Covid, cancels Tunisia visit

Published August 22, 2022
A file photo taken on Feb 17 shows Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaking at a press conference in Tokyo to update the country about the coronavirus pandemic and certain border restrictions.—AFP
A file photo taken on Feb 17 shows Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaking at a press conference in Tokyo to update the country about the coronavirus pandemic and certain border restrictions.—AFP

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, forcing him to cancel a planned trip to Tunisia to attend a key conference on African development.

Kishida, who just returned from a week-long vacation, will work from his residence from Monday and will join the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) online, a the source said.

The prime minister developed a cough and fever on Saturday and took a PCR test the next morning, which confirmed the positive result in the afternoon, a spokesperson said.

Japan is co-hosting the eighth TICAD on Africa, and the first since 2019, with the United Nations, the World Bank, and the African Union Commission. Among discussion on measures to bolster development, the gathering will look at ways to help the continent tackle the pandemic.

Kishida’s infection comes as Japan has been experiencing a record resurgence in coronavirus cases since early last month, hitting businesses in the world’s third-biggest economy.

Deaths remain relatively low and the disruptions have been milder than in some other advanced economies.

Japan’s economy grew an at annual 2.2 percent in the second quarter, a slower-than-expected rebound from a Covid-induced slump as uncertainty remains over whether consumption can bolster a fragile recovery.

The authorities have eschewed strict lockdowns used in China and other nations throughout the pandemic, relying on broad usage of mask wearing and social distancing to curb infections.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2022

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