Prefectural governors on Thursday discussed joint proposals for how to revive the country’s economy following the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic while preventing a second wave of infections at the same time.
Measures proposed at the online meeting of the National Governors’ Association included reviewing how local areas responded to the outbreak in terms of testing and medical care, and coordinating with the central government in sharing anti-virus measures and analyzing infection routes.
Recognizing that the economy is facing its biggest crisis in the postwar period, the governors plan to launch a team by this summer to jointly compile measures to fight the pandemic.
The state of emergency, initially imposed on Tokyo and six other prefectures in early April and later expanded to the whole country, was lifted in stages by May 25, but the country still faces fears of a second wave of infections, with new cases in Tokyo showing signs of increasing again.
In Kitakyushu, a group of school children were found to be infected and cluster cases occurred at medical institutions.
Tokushima Gov. Kamon Iizumi, who heads the National Governors’ Association, stressed the importance of governors’ initiatives, saying their actions have helped contain the first wave of infections across the country.
The governors called for continued promotion of telework and online meetings even after the state of emergency was lifted while stressing the need to achieve sustainable economic growth through administrative and economic decentralization.
Ishikawa Gov. Masanori Tanimoto pointed out that hospitals that have accepted people infected with the virus are facing financial difficulties. “The more they take in (the COVID-19 patients), the more they suffer financially,” he said, urging the central government to provide more assistance for those medical institutions.
Many hospitals that are accepting COVID-19 patients have stopped or reduced taking in other outpatients and also scaled down on surgeries, which forced their profits to fall.
The association’s conference was initially scheduled to be held in Shiga Prefecture but was moved online due to the spread of the virus. A total of 45 governors took part in the meeting.
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