Japan Curbs Domestic Tourism Campaign

Japan curbs domestic tourism campaign

The Japanese government has scaled back a popular domestic tourism campaign due to the coronavirus, which is now spreading rapidly nationwide.

Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi said, "Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and ministers concerned have decided to temporarily halt subsidies for travel to the cities of Sapporo and Osaka."

The exclusions will last for three weeks. The government will absorb the costs so consumers will not have to pay cancellation fees.

The two cities are virus hot spots.

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido. The prefecture has had more than 200 new cases every day for the past week.

The government campaign -- called Go To Travel -- is aimed at revitalizing the economy. It's apparently been good for hotel room occupancy rates in Osaka City, where uncertainty is once again creeping into the tourism industry.

A hotel manager said, "It's really shocking. There's no telling what will happen next. We are really anxious."

Tokyo has also seen a spike recently, but will not be excluded from the campaign.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko says she will work with the central government to step up anti-virus measures.

Nationwide, a record 345 coronavirus patients were in serious condition on Tuesday. The figure is twice as many as late last month.

Medical workers in some areas are feeling the strain. Seven of the eight beds for serious cases at this hospital in central Tokyo are occupied. Officials say they cannot accept any more.

Uchida Shinichi of Tokyo Medical and Dental University Medical Hospital says, "It's not just about the number of beds. We need special equipment, and we need a certain amount of space for isolation."

On Tuesday, there have been more than 1,200 new cases reported nationwide. Over 130,000 people have tested positive since the outbreak began. The death toll exceeds 2,000.