Japan will suspend its “Go To Travel” subsidy program in areas with a high number of coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Nov. 21, in a policy reversal. Suga’s approach has been criticized for focusing too much on stimulating the economy amid record numbers of infections.
The decision was made as Japan confirmed more than 2,500 new daily cases of the novel coronavirus, marking a record high for the fourth day in a row, and a day after a government panel of medical experts proposed reviewing the campaign aimed at promoting domestic tourism.
At a meeting of the government’s task force on measures against the virus, Suga said accepting new bookings for trips to areas where infections are spreading rapidly through the campaign will be halted.
Suga also said the government will ask prefectural governors to consider stopping the issuance of “Go To Eat” discount coupons aimed at encouraging dining out at restaurants.
“To avoid situations requiring stronger measures, people’s cooperation is indispensable,” he said.
While calling on people to wear face masks when dining and take all other possible measures to prevent the further spread of the virus, he stopped short of saying when the suspension of the travel campaign will begin and in which areas. (Kyodo)