Listen to this Article Now
Wearing masks has become increasingly common during the coronavirus pandemic, but they should not be used by children under the age of two, according to the Japan Pediatric Association.
Japan’s coronavirus guidelines encourage people to wear masks but the medical body warned parents not to put them on infants because it makes it difficult to notice changes in face color, expression and breathing, it said in a leaflet.
“It is possible that masks make it difficult for infants to breathe and increase the risks of heat stroke,” reads the leaflet.
The leaflet says masks are not necessary for children under two.
Infants have narrower airways and masks can make it more difficult to breathe, increasing the burden on their lungs, it continues.
There is also an increased risk of suffocation, particularly if small children vomit behind a mask.
Infants are relatively low risk for coronavirus infections and the association concludes that masks are not necessary for infants under two years old.
On Monday Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the country’s nationwide state of emergency. It had been in place almost a month but authorities lifted it a week earlier than originally planned.
However, Abe expanded a travel ban to 111 countries effective Wednesday, now including the United States, India, and South Africa.
The ban list expanded by 11 countries this week and forbids foreign nationals who stayed in those countries from entering Japan.
Japanese citizens are still allowed to enter the country, although they will need to go through medical tests and self-quarantine for 14 days.
Japan now has a total of 16,581 confirmed cases and 830 deaths linked to the coronavirus, according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University.
By Jack Guy and Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN