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Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced Tuesday evening that residents in the capital age 65 and over as well as those with pre-existing conditions should refrain from participating in the Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign.

The governor made the announcement shortly after a meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and as the number of patients suffering severe symptoms from COVID-19 is on the rise, with fears that hospitals will be overwhelmed if the figure continues to spike. Tokyo reported 62 serious cases Tuesday, down from 70 a day earlier.

Amid the surge, ealth minister Norihisa Tamura called Tuesday for local authorities to help strengthen regional medical systems by planning for a “worst case scenario.”

The central government has left open the possibility of further reviewing the campaign, depending on how the virus situation continues to unfold.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced Tuesday evening that due to concern about the recent surge in COVID-19 cases certain segments should refrain from participating in the Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign. | KYODO
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced Tuesday evening that due to concern about the recent surge in COVID-19 cases certain segments should refrain from participating in the Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign. | KYODO

Differences between Japan’s most recent coronavirus surge and a wave subdued in the summer are giving lawmakers pause, and forcing experts to adjust their strategies as the country enters winter with an aging population that’s been counted as the most vulnerable in the world, Bloomberg reports.

Despite the wave sweeping over the country, the central government plans to keep setting aside money to promote domestic tourism and dining out in its next stimulus package, Reuters reports, citing a draft of the upcoming package. The draft stimulus package — which made no mention of its size or source of funding and is likely be finalized in the coming days — underscores PM Suga’s resolve to keep businesses open, even as hospital beds continue to fill up.

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