Japan puts in use $13B from reserve funds in virus battle

Funds to be used to buy vaccines, medicine; support households, businesses

ANKARA (AA) – Japan on Friday decided to put in use $13 billion from reserve funds in its fight against COVID-19, local media reported.

The government has decided to “use 1.4 trillion yen ($13 billion) in fiscal 2021 reserve funds, mainly for additional purchases of COVID-19 vaccines as well as securing medicines for patients,” according to Kyodo News Agency.

It also includes interest-free loans to households and businesses, hit-hard by the pandemic.

The world’s third-largest economy infused liquidity in the market several times as the pandemic battered the country’s health and financial structures.

Japan is witnessing a highly contagious Delta variant-driven virus wave, with at least 21 provinces under the state of emergency that allows local authorities to implement stronger measures against the virus.

The country of 126 million people has so far reported more than 1.38 million COVID-19 cases, including 15,797 deaths, the prime minister’s office said.

However, the world’s third largest economy is lagging behind in vaccination. The country has so far administered more than 122 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with over 54 million people fully vaccinated.

Japan has been using an “antibody cocktail” treatment prepared of casirivimab and imdevimab. The therapy is believed to “lower a patient’s risk of hospitalization or death.”

On Thursday, Japanese authorities also suspended the use of about 1.6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine due to contamination.

The Moderna vaccine’s Spanish manufacturer said the doses in which contaminants were detected “had only been shipped to Japan.”

“The detection of this particulate matter refers to certain vials of one product lot distributed exclusively in Japan,” the Spanish pharma company Rovi SA said.

The medical firm added it probing the matter.


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