Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihida Suga on Friday urged the nation to spend a quiet period of a new year without the usual social celebrations to stop the spread of Kovid-19, which is breaking transition records on an almost daily basis.
Suga also announced a $ 2.6 billion package for hospitals treating Kovid-19 patients, who have come under stress due to rapid increases in the North Island of Hokkaido as well as large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.
“I want you to spend a quiet new year,” the premier said at a news conference in Tokyo with Shigeru Omi, the government’s head of coronavirus expert.
“The infection is not decreasing and if we keep going like this, we will not be able to keep from spreading the virus.”
Domestic media reported late on Friday, confirming their first cases of new, rapidly spreading variants of the virus in two civilians.
Japan has banned entry from the United Kingdom, with the return of Japanese citizens and those with residence permits.
Japan does not celebrate Christmas, but the New Year period is an extended national holiday, with many people usually traveling back to their hometowns and spending time with family and friends.
Omi warned that it was important that “all citizens move in the same direction,” to get a grip on the health crisis.
“If we don’t reduce the transition now, it will not be easy to change the downward trend once they grow again after the New Year period,” he said. “It will take time, and it will probably be impossible to control the duration of a few weeks,” he said.
Omi said that shared food was a major cause of the infection and called on people to refrain from holding large ceremonies and limit the four people to eat regularly or less.
While Japan has avoided the huge infection numbers seen in other parts of the world, for the first time this month, the number of new daily cases exceeds 3,000. Tokyo reported 884 infections on Friday, near Thursday’s record of 888.
Reducing the strain on hospitals, five national groups of doctors and other medical personnel on Friday made an emergency request for Suga, calling for strong anti-pandemic measures and support for the medical sector.
According to Tsoshi Joshi, president of the Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions, with hospitals equipped to treat Kovid-19 fillings, other hospitals are being forced to accept patients with the disease.
“These small and medium-sized hospitals, which are supporting medical services in their respective areas, are facing a crisis,” Masuda told reporters at a separate press conference on Friday.
He also warned that the risk of hospital infection in specialized institutions to combat infectious diseases was high.
Japan, with a population of 126 million, has signed deals to buy 290 million vaccine supplements from Pfizer Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc, or enough for 145 million people.
A panel of the Ministry of Health stated that people 65 or older should receive priority for vaccination against Kovid-19, as well as healthcare personnel and those with underlying medical conditions.
It has specified chronic heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and chronic kidney disease among others as underlying conditions that should determine priority.
The panel’s recommendations would mean 36 million elderly and 8.2 million people with medical conditions would be the first to receive shots.
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