Tokyo residents to be excluded from domestic tourism campaign
TOKYO: Japan said it will exclude people living or vacationing in Tokyo from a subsidised domestic tourism campaign as record numbers of coronavirus infections there sparked concern that the capital's residents could spread the virus to other parts of the country.
Ministers and a government panel of health experts yesterday met and agreed to a proposal to narrow down the multibillion dollar "Go To" campaign.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike had questioned the economic revival plan's timing and methods.
"We agreed that Tokyo should be temporarily removed, but we are not telling people to stay home. Families can still vacation if they are careful and take the proper precautions," Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
Tokyo has raised its alert to the highest level after a series of new cases.
The city yesterday reported 286 new cases. Nationwide, the daily tally passed 600, the highest one-day increase in three months, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The government's top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, earlier said Japan had 19,000 hospital beds and plenty of medical supplies to cope with the outbreak.
"We hope the Go To campaign supports tourism and the food and beverage industry and brings about a social and economic recovery so that the regions can escape this severe situation," he said.
The campaign, which begins on July 22, will see travellers get subsidies of as much as 50 per cent to boost tourism-reliant economies outside major population areas.
Meanwhile, in Australia, two men in their 80s died overnight from the coronavirus, as Victoria state logged a record daily rise in new infections.
It reported 317 new daily cases, the highest since the pandemic began. The state's previous high of 288 new cases came last week. Victoria is the centre of a renewed outbreak in Australia, with close to 2,800 new infections this month alone.
According to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, 289 of yesterday's cases remained under investigation by health experts, while 28 were connected to known clusters.
New South Wales recorded 10 new cases and South Australia reported one new infection, while the rest of the country reported no cases.
Indonesia reported 1,574 new cases yesterday, bringing the total number of infections to 81,668, its health ministry said.
Indonesia also reported 76 deaths, taking the overall death toll to 3,873. - REUTERS