Japan PM Suga says tourism promotion will continue despite virus resurgence

Clay Curtis
November 20, 2020

Compared to many other countries, Japan has done well combatting the virus, reporting just under 2,000 deaths in a nation of 126 million since the pandemic began. But it has seen an uptick in cases recently, with record highs both nationally and in Tokyo, the country's largest city.

Unlike the second wave of the outbreak in August, the current surge pushed up hospitalizations as Japan's healthcare system is struggling to cope with the third wave.

On Wednesday they reported more than 2,000 new cases of covid-19 in the country, nearly 500 of which in Tokyo, which constitutes two new records, according to official data.

Tokyo is opting to keep restaurants open during the festive season despite recording record numbers of COVID infections.

"I believe that we are in a situation of maximum alert", declared the prime minister this Thursday before the press.

Experts on Tokyo's coronavirus panel called Thursday for officials to secure more beds for patients and hotel rooms for those with less serious symptoms before infections further accelerate. They have called on officials to step up preventive measures.

"While the government is continuing with campaigns to revitalise consumption, companies seem to be focusing on preventing their employees from being infected", Tokyo Shoko Research said in a report.

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Suga said he would support local regions if they asked businesses to close early, and that restrictions, including limiting groups at restaurants to four people, should be considered. She emphasized that everybody should observe the 5 "kos" when dining out or drinking - meeting in small groups (limited to four), using small plates to avoid sharing chopsticks or glasses, quickly leaving after eating, keeping a mask on in between eating or drinking, and speaking in a small (or low) voice.

"As you know, I have the authority as the installation commander to increase restrictions to the fullest extent necessary", Campbell said in the video posted to the base Facebook page. "It's time to buckle up again, (asterisk)", Omi said.

Japan Medical Association President Toshio Nakagawa urged Tokyo residents to stay home over the coming long weekend.

A resurgence in Asia could hamper prospects for a broader reopening needed to boost economic recovery, stymie "travel bubble" plans, and fan public worries in Japan which is preparing to host the Olympic games next year.

Japan declared a state of emergency in April and May, making nonbinding stay-at-home and business closure requests.

Among the ways the virus spreads is by droplets from the mouth.

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