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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Changes in Regional Rules for COVID-19

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AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
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This week brings some changes to the ways different locations are dealing with the coronavirus.

In the Asia Pacific, restrictions are tightening for many residents of Japan and loosening a bit in Hong Kong.

And in South Korea, residents will soon have another option for testing. Within the next two weeks, residents of South Korea should be able to take COVID-19 tests at home.

On Friday, the South Korean government cleared the way for two self-test kits—using a quick swab from the nose; results available in about 20 minutes.

It’s a rapid antigen test—Ministry of Health officials warn it’s not as accurate as a PCR test—the kind that reaches deeper back into the nasal cavity.

But it can work as an initial screening.

That’s how the new mayor of Seoul wants to use them at schools and businesses like bars.

In Hong Kong, bars will re-open later this week--for the first time in more than four months.

But there is a condition: customers will have to have had at least one dose of a vaccination.

Shots are also required for staff members—part of a new set of rules for bars, restaurants and clubs.

In Japan, a new state of emergency is underway for some of the country’s largest cities—including Tokyo and Osaka.

It’s scheduled to last for about two weeks—with further restrictions on restaurants, department stores and other commercial operations.

In Tokyo, officials say they’re still planning to host the Summer Olympics—but the Mayor is encouraging people to stay home at night—and shut off the neon signs across the city.

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