The Japanese government will ask the business community to ensure that each company has 70 percent or more employees work from home, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Sunday.

The government will also call on businesses not to hold large-scale gatherings, including drinking parties, Nishimura, who is leading the government’s virus response effort, told a news conference.

He said that the government will make the requests as coronavirus cases have been increasing across Japan. Nishimura said that the proportion of commuters once fell to 20 to 30 percent of previous levels but recently rose back to some 70 percent.

“Businesses should not step back but maintain the proportion of teleworking through various ways of working,” he said.

The government will also urge businesses to comply with coronavirus prevention guidelines, promote staggered commuting, have employees with poor health conditions stay at home and promote the introduction of the health ministry’s contact-tracing smartphone app.

The minister said he is watching the coronavirus infection situation with a sense of vigilance as cases in elderly people at higher risk of developing severe symptoms have been gradually increasing.

The government will convene a meeting of experts as early as this week to assess the situation and discuss responses, Nishimura said.

Separately, the government is also scheduled to hold a meeting of experts on Aug. 5 to analyze the effects of its coronavirus state of emergency that was in place between early April and late May.

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