• Kyodo

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The health ministry is considering providing up to ¥200,000 ($1,900) for each medical worker at hospitals treating coronavirus patients across Japan, ministry sources said Sunday.

The measure is aimed at supporting the doctors and nurses who face the risk of infection while working on the front lines.

With a second wave of coronavirus cases expected to occur, the government also hopes that the allowance will provide an incentive for medical institutions such as hospitals to continue accepting patients with COVID-19.

Details of the payment, such as eligibility and the final amount, will be thrashed out ahead of the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 to be finalized at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

The proposal includes providing ¥200,000 for each front-line worker at hospitals admitting coronavirus patients, and ¥100,000 for each staff at medical institutions that have secured beds and prepared to admit coronavirus patients.

Staff at nursing homes are also likely to be eligible for the allowance.

Some local governments have already set forth their own support measures, with Tottori Prefecture announcing last Thursday that it would provide ¥4,000 per day to all medical workers handling patients or people suspected of having coronavirus.

A survey conducted by the Zenkoku Ishi Union, a national labor union comprised of working doctors, found that around 90 percent of doctors involved in testing for or treating COVID-19 said they fear the risk of infection.

But although these front-line doctors sought hazard pay for the dangers they faced, less than 20 percent responded they had received a bonus allowance of any sort.

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