TOKYO: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan reached a record for the third day straight, with 2,418 cases, the health ministry said on Saturday (Nov 21).
The government said it will suspend a domestic travel campaign in areas where COVID-19 infections are especially high, as cases in Tokyo also hit a record high of 539 on Saturday.
The partial suspension of the domestic travel campaign marks a change in direction for the government, which was holding back on curtailing a domestic travel subsidy programme.
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“We will suspend new reservations under the Go To Travel programme for trips destined for regions seeing a rise in coronavirus infections,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.
Suga has been attempting a balancing act of revitalising Japan’s hard-hit economy while keeping the spread of COVID-19 under control.
However, an expert panel recommended on Friday that the government curtail the programme if there is a further rise in cases.
Japan, with fewer than 2,000 deaths related to the coronavirus, has been relatively successful at containing the damage from the pandemic, with social distancing and the widespread use of masks.
But worries are growing about another infection surge, as the nation begins a three-day weekend. Monday is Labour Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday.