The Japanese government plans to step up measures toward the end of the year to fight coronavirus infections.
The government advisory panel on its coronavirus response on Wednesday called for stronger action for a short period of around three weeks. The panel said the government should ask people to refrain from moving to or from areas where the virus is spreading rapidly, if necessary preventive steps are not taken.
Nishimura Yasutoshi, the minister in charge of the coronavirus response, pointed out the panel is communicating a strong sense of crisis. He said the three weeks are critical to curb the spread of the virus.
The government plans to study possible measures for areas where infections are surging, in cooperation with prefectural governors. These include asking bars and restaurants to shorten opening hours and stepping up restrictions in holding events.
The government says it is balancing steps to prevent infections with social and economic activities. It wants to avoid the situation reaching the highest alert level, which could lead to a declaration of a state of emergency.
The government will strengthen its call for people to work from home, as well as thoroughly observe basic safety protocols, such as wearing masks.