DAILY DOSE: Japan scales back Covid-19 health measures; China keeps making strides in aerospace.

Japan became the latest country to downgrade its health threat assessment of Covid-19. This comes after the World Health Organization downgraded the pandemic from a global health emergency. Per Japan Today,

Japan on Monday downgraded the legal status of COVID-19 to the same category as seasonal influenza and greatly relaxed its related health measures, marking a major shift in its approach after three years of dealing with the coronavirus.

The reclassification of COVID-19 to Class 5 means decisions on anti-coronavirus prevention measures are now up to individuals and businesses. But experts are still calling on the government to ensure medical institutions can properly respond to another potential future surge in the number of infections.

The government has removed most of its guidelines, such as quarantine periods of seven days for people who test positive for the disease and five days for those who have been in close contact with an infected person.

Residents of Japan are also to be charged for coronavirus-related outpatient care and hospitalization, although subsidies are available for expensive treatment. COVID-19 patients will also receive medical treatment in ordinary hospitals instead of designated facilities.

The disease was categorized in 2020 as a special public health threat equivalent to or stricter than Class 2, which covers infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. https://bit.ly/3B2Ln6X

China has been extremely busy in the aerospace field. It seems like everyday that the country’s space agency is making strides. Per the Global TImes,

The assembly of the Tianzhou-6 cargo spacecraft and the Long March-7 Yao-7 carrier rocket were both vertically transferred to the launch area on Sunday, the Global Times learnt from the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).

At present, all facilities and equipment at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan Province are in good condition. Functions and joint tests will be carried out before the launch as planned, with the launch scheduled for the near future, according to the CMSEO.

"Each vertical transfer is like sending your child to the exam," said a technician at the launch facility. "We always want our children to get full marks and give a satisfactory answer."

China has scheduled launch missions for the Tianzhou-6 cargo spacecraft and the Shenzhou-16 and -17 crewed spacecraft later this year. https://bit.ly/42da5xC

China leapfrogged the rest of the world when it comes to the production and adoption of electric vehicles. It’s gotten to the point that the country needs to start exporting the cars in greater number just to keep from being inundated with vehicles. Per Reuters,

China is ground zero for the price war in electric vehicles and the battleground is shifting to SUV-styled EVs, the largest segment of the market, dominated by Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and BYD (002594.SZ), .

The market, crowded with more than 90 models, is about to get even tighter with at least 20 new models of both Chinese and foreign brands launched in April, squeezing pricing and margins at home and driving exports, analysts and executives said.

EV makers in China have followed Tesla's bold price cuts by lowering prices for their own electric SUVs, cannabalising sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles as the price gap between the technologies narrows, analysts said.

The trend will spread abroad with growing exports of China-made electric SUVs. https://bit.ly/3phxIGL

With the days getting warmer and drier, it’s becoming prime wildfire season. It has already arrived in Canada. Per the Associated Press,

Fire crews battled wildfires threatening communities in western Canada on Sunday as cooler temperatures and a bit of rain brought some relief, but officials warned the reprieve came only in some areas.

Officials in Alberta said there were 108 active fires in the province and the number of evacuees grew to about 29,000, up from approximately 24,000 Saturday, when a provincewide state of emergency was declared.

Two out-of-control wildfires in neighboring British Columbia also caused some people to leave their homes, and officials warned that they expected high winds to cause the blazes to grow bigger in the next few days.

Alberta officials indicated that the weather forecast was favorable for the next few days, with small amounts of rain and overcast conditions. https://bit.ly/3pdlH4R

Air pollution in Asia is proving to be a continent-wide problem. Per Channel News Asia,

Trudging along Bangkok's hot and dusty streets, green candidates struggle to canvass support ahead of Thailand's election, with record-breaking pollution failing to spur anything more than political hot air.

For the past three months, much of the kingdom has been choking on dangerous air pollution, with smoke from forest fires and farmers burning crop stubble suffocating northern Chiang Mai and cloaking the capital with hazardous smog.

Despite the region facing recent record-breaking heatwaves and worsening flooding due in part to rising sea levels, green movements have gained little traction with Thai voters.

"People acknowledge it but they have no hope that politicians can solve this problem," Green Party leader and founder Phongsa Choonaem told AFP while he campaigned for the May 14 vote.

Seems like politicians ignoring their constituents is a global, not a local, thing. https://bit.ly/3NMMcZe

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE CREDIT: Kubota Sanshiro.

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