Panel to Seek Halt to "Go To Travel" If Infections Surge

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Nov. 12 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese government panel of experts will call for freezing the state-backed Go To Travel campaign if the coronavirus situation deteriorates sharply, its head said Thursday.

Shigeru Omi, chair of the panel on countermeasures against the virus and head of the Japan Community Health Care Organization, revealed the plan at a press conference after the panel decided at a meeting the same day to keep in place the current attendance restrictions for large events until around the end of February next year in response to rising infection cases in many parts of the country.

"A major outbreak of the coronavirus is around the corner," economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of the government's coronavirus responses, told reporters, calling for "maximum vigilance" against the virus.

While brushing aside an immediate need to declare a state of emergency over the virus, Nishimura referred to the possibility of the government taking measures, such as asking businesses to suspend operations based on a special law aimed at dealing with the coronavirus, if infection cases rise further and there is a serious a shortage of hospital beds for coronavirus patients. "If such steps fail to curb infections, we'll have to take even stronger measures," he added.

At the press conference, Omi said that the Go To Travel campaign "should definitely be halted if the expert panel regards the country's infection situation as entering Stage 3, which indicates a rapid increase in the number of infections. In such event, the panel will ask the government to restrict economic and social activities in general, he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press