Tokyo, June 26: Japan may have entered its ninth wave of COVID infections, said an expert who served as the government's top coronavirus adviser, Kyodo News reported. The expert stressed on the importance of safeguarding vulnerable elderly individuals from the disease.

"A ninth wave may have started," the expert, Shigeru Omi told reporters after meeting with Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss the recent nationwide increase in infections after the government eased countermeasures, including downgrading the legal status of the disease to the same category as seasonal influenza in May. Coronavirus Origin: US Intelligence Report on COVID-19 Origins Rejects Some Points Raised by Lab Leak Theory Proponents.

"As people have been increasingly in contact with others, (the infection rise) is as expected," Omi said, as per Kyodo News. He underscored that people at high risk of developing severe illness should be vaccinated.

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"I don't know if the number of infected people will surpass that of the eighth wave, but we should focus on reducing the number of deaths and ensuring the continuity of social activities," he said. Omicron-Specific mRNA-based Booster Vaccine for COVID-19 Launched by Union Minister Jitendra Singh.

With its decision to categorize COVID-19 as a common disease, Japan had announced to end current border control measures on foreign tourists from May 8, Kyodo News had earlier reported.

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