Japan has welcomed back a flood of tourists as COVID-related travel restrictions implemented more than two years ago were lifted, while at the same time China was still hurting from its zero-COVID policy.
The news comes as the daily number of new COVID cases in the U.S. fell to a six-month low.
As the Associated Press reported, airlines have added flights to Japan as travelers from more than 60 countries for short-term business and tourism are now able to enter the country without a visa. The only COVID protocols remaining are visitors must be fully vaccinated with one booster, or have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure.
In pre-pandemic 2019, about 32 million tourists had visited Japan, the AP reported.
The lifting of lockdowns in Japan comes at a time that China is still reeling from its zero-COVID policy, as CNN reported that holiday spending during China’s Golden Week holiday period fell to the lowest level in seven years. The seven-day holiday, which is typically a time of heavy travel and spending, started on Oct. 1.
In the U.S., the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases fell 26% from two weeks ago to 38,855 on Monday, the first drop below the 40,000 line since April 18, according to a New York Times tracker.
Only five U.S. states have seen an increase in cases from two weeks ago, led by Maine at 15% and Colorado at 9%. Illinois saw the biggest decline at 53%, followed by Mississippi at 48%, while Washington, D.C. saw a 75% decline.
Meanwhile, the daily average for hospitalizations dropped 10% to 26,380, the lowest number since May 26, while the number of people in intensive-care units (ICUs) declined 12% to a four-month of 3,130.
The daily death toll was down 9% to 379, a one-month low.
The number of Americans who have been fully vaccinated, or completed the primary vaccine series, was 225.87 million as of Tuesday morning, or 68.0% of the total population, while the those who have received at least one booster totaled 110.56 million, or 48.9% of the population, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On a global basis, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 622.10 million, while the death toll reached 6,559,111, according to Johns Hopkins University data.