July 18, 2024

AN, TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and will cancel his trip to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) conference in Tunisia.

Kishida, who is currently  recuperating at his official residence, according to his office, had just returned from a week-long vacation and was due to restart work on Monday. He developed a cough and fever on Saturday, and took a PCR test on Sunday morning, which confirmed the positive result in the afternoon, a Cabinet spokesperson said.

SHIKATA Noriyuki, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, told Arab News Japan that the PM will “have to undergo the same isolation period as others,” and that means “until August 31,” which indicates the postponement of his tour.

TICAD 8 will take place on Aug. 27 and 28. Kishida is reportedly hoping to attend the meeting online.

The Japanese PM was also expected to visit some Middle East countries, including the UAE and Qatar.

TICAD is under the jurisdiction of Japan’s Foreign Ministry, so Kishida’s likely replacement will be Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry NISHIMURA Yasutoshi is expected to deputize for the prime minister’s Middle East tour, but no official decision has been made yet.

Prime Minister Kishida contacted the Cabinet Office at 9 a.m. on Aug. 21 saying he needed to take a PCR test because he had had a slight fever and cough since the previous night.

The prime minister had a PCR test at the Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 a.m. and found out at 4 p.m. that he had tested positive for the new coronavirus. He is currently recuperating at the Prime Minister’s official residence.

Kishida was scheduled to return to public service on Aug. 22, following a week-long vacation.

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