The Japanese government plans to begin the vaccination of the population against COVID-19, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in the first half of 2021, Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato stated on Friday.
"We strive for the soonest implementation [of the vaccination], the goal is the first half of 2021," he said, quoted by the Japanese state television. He added that leading Japanese pharmaceutical companies and research institutes are working on creating a vaccine and drugs for the treatment of the disease, TASS reports.
According to the latest data, 17,700 cases of COVID-19 have been documented in Japan, with over 920 people dead. Over 15,500 people have recovered.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.