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Japan PM Fumio Kishida tests positive for COVID

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been infected with COVID-19 and is recuperating at his official residence, his office said on Sunday.

Kishida, who just returned from a week-long vacation, was due to return to work on Monday with an overseas trip scheduled for later in the week.

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 Office spokesperson said.

Japan has endured a record resurgence in coronavirus infections through July and August, hitting businesses in the world’s third-biggest economy, although deaths remain relatively low and the disruptions have been milder than in some other advanced economies.

Japan’s economy grew an annualized 2.2% in the second quarter, a slower-than-expected rebound from a COVID-induced slump as uncertainty remains over whether consumption can bolster a fragile recovery.

The authorities have eschewed strict lockdowns used in China and other nations throughout the pandemic, relying on broad usage of mask-wearing and social distancing to curb infections.

Kishida was to take part in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) starting on Friday in Tunisia, then continue with visits through the Middle East.

He may participate in TICAD online, public broadcaster NHK reported.

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