Governors in Japan demand strengthened medical system as COVID-19 easing raises concerns
Prefectural governors on Saturday called on the new central government to strengthen the health system, amid concerns that the easing of restrictions linked to COVID-19 could cause a new resurgence of infections.
The National Governors Association wants enough hospital beds, tests and treatment for the coronavirus to be secured in a draft government proposal to be established by the next alleged prime minister, Fumio Kishida.
“Securing a medical system that can save people’s lives should be the foundation of an exit strategy,” the governors said in the draft proposal discussed at their online meeting on Saturday.
The latest proposal comes as the COVID-19 state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo and 18 other prefectures, and a near-state of emergency ended on Friday in eight additional areas. It was the first time since April that the whole country was exempt from such a designation to fight infections.
Attendance caps at large-scale events such as concerts and sporting games have been relaxed and restrictions on restaurant owners such as shortened hours and the alcohol ban will be eased in stages.
The health ministry, meanwhile, is examining the state of the country’s health system for a possible sixth wave of coronavirus infections.
The governors said in the draft proposal to be submitted to the central government that Japan is sure to experience a sixth wave soon.
They also asked for government tax support to support their local economies.
“Our regional economies are falling into a critical situation,” the governors said.
Kishida, who is due to be elected prime minister at a special Diet session on Monday, said he would compile “tens of billions of yen” for a stimulus package by the end of the year.
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