Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga abruptly announced Saturday that areas experiencing the brunt of a nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections will be removed indefinitely from an ongoing government tourism promotion campaign.

Top officials had been adamant that, despite the onset of a third wave of the novel coronavirus, government-funded programs meant to subsidize the food, entertainment and tourism industries would proceed.

Suga said the central government will secure ¥50 billion to provide financial support if and when governors call on local businesses to reduce or suspend operations.