Despite early signs that the number of new COVID-19 cases may be slowing, the government warned residents Wednesday they must continue to stay home and avoid nonessential travel even during the Golden Week holidays, which stretch from later this month to early May, in order to curb new infections.

“I’m alarmed that efforts to decrease (the number of new patients) have been insufficient,” said economic minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who spearheads the government’s coronavirus measures.

Nishimura told reporters after meeting with a panel of experts that it had presented 10 specific plans to dial back human interaction by the desirable 80 percent level — including taking advantage of communication tools to interact online with family members during the upcoming holiday, going on grocery shopping during quieter business hours by oneself or in smaller groups and using takeout or delivery services from restaurants.