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Prefectural governors asked the central government on Sunday to strengthen screening tests for mutant strains of the coronavirus.

The National Governors’ Association also called for government financial support for municipalities to provide aid money to restaurants and bars that meet authorities’ requests for shorter operating hours to prevent infections.

The association made the calls in emergency proposals to the government it worked out at a videoconference, seeing the current infection situation as a fourth wave.

The meeting was held before stricter measures against the coronavirus will be implemented in a total of six cities in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures for a month from Monday.

In the proposals, the association said the municipalities to be placed under the quasi-emergency measures will likely face large fiscal burdens due to financial aid they provide to establishments that will shorten business hours in line with their requests.

It asked the government to help them by increasing extraordinary subsidies intended for regional revitalization.

In the proposals, the governors asked the government to boost genetic analysis for coronavirus variants and present a policy for dealing with the mutant strains that reflects the latest scientific findings.

The association also proposed that the government quickly move to carry out a study on whether to relax criteria for people infected with the coronavirus to be discharged from hospitals.

Other proposals included the establishment of a regime for smooth vaccinations.

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura requested that the government take stronger steps against coronavirus variants.

“I think (the resurgence of infection cases in Osaka) certainly reflects the effects of virus variants. I’m pretty sure that infection will spread at a rapid pace,” he said.

Furthermore, the association called on people to stop short of making nonessential and nonurgent trips to and from the areas declared to be in need of measures equivalent to those taken under a state of emergency.

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