TOKYO (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) – Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has tested positive for Covid-19, his office said on Sunday (Aug 21).

Mr Kishida, who just returned from a week-long vacation, was due to resume work on Monday.

He developed a cough and slight fever on Saturday night and came up positive in a polymerase chain reaction test, a Cabinet spokesman said.

He is currently resting at the prime minister’s official residence.

Coronavirus infections in the country have remained near record highs, with 24,780 Covid-19 cases found in Tokyo alone on Sunday. The figures are forcing politicians and healthcare officials to reconsider what steps, if any, are needed to contain the outbreak.

Deaths linked to Covid-19 remained relatively low in the world’s third-biggest economy, however, and the disruptions have been milder than in some other advanced economies.

Countries across the globe are facing the same conundrum as Japan amid soaring Covid-19 infection levels, as the arrival of more infectious Omicron subvariants has led to higher infection rates, even as testing in most areas is on the decline.

Even so, the end of pandemic restrictions on businesses in late March helped to spur the Japanese economy. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than half of Japan’s economic output, led the growth, as did capital expenditure.

The relaxing of Covid-19 rules resulted in increased spending at restaurants and hotels, as well as on clothes.

Mr Kishida is able to continue his duties but will cancel a planned trip to Tunisia next weekend, the Nikkei business daily reported, citing an unidentified person.