Pref. Governors Seen Allowed to Recommend Hospitalization

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government is considering a law revision to allow prefectural governors to recommend that symptom-free or mildly ill people with the novel coronavirus be hospitalized and have them pay their hospitalization costs if they refuse to isolate themselves at their homes or accommodation facilities, officials said Tuesday.

Currently, there are no legal grounds for authorities to demand that such infected people stay at home or in accommodation facilities, and coronavirus patients' hospitalization costs are covered by public funds.

The law revision is seen introducing fines of up to 1 million yen on those who do not comply with hospitalization recommendations by prefectural governors.

The government explained the possible law revision at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. It plans to submit a bill to revise the infectious disease law during an ordinary parliamentary session to start next week.

The government also plans to introduce a criminal penalty for infected people who refuse to cooperate with public health authorities' epidemiological surveys to identify infection routes. The application of the penalty is expected to be limited to those with symptoms as severe as requiring hospitalization.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press