Japan's government has decided on a basic policy for measures to protect against a domestic outbreak of the new coronavirus. It includes asking people with minor symptoms to recuperate at home, in order to secure adequate care at medical facilities for those who are seriously ill.
The government's task force on the new coronavirus met on Tuesday at the prime minister's office.
The task force says currently there are sporadic cases of patients in multiple areas of Japan where the route of infection is unclear. It also notes small clusters of infection in some areas.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the task force is calling on people to stay home from work or school if they develop a fever or symptoms of a cold. It's also urging businesses to promote teleworking and flex-time commuting.
The task force stops short of urging across-the-board event cancellations and downsizing, but is asking organizers to reconsider whether they need to go ahead with their plans.
In regions that have seen a surge in the number of infections, people with minor symptoms will be principally asked to recuperate at home. Medical institutions that are not specialized to treat infectious diseases will be asked to take in patients after setting examination hours and movement zones.
In regions where cases of infection continue to rise, monitoring of people who've had close contact with patients will be scaled back. Instead they will be asked to stay indoors as much as possible.
When shifting to these measures, local governments will be asked to make their own decisions based on the health ministry's ideas and situations in their areas.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the need to reduce the rate of new infections as much as possible and control the spread of the coronavirus in Japan.
He vowed to implement measures to contain regional infections, and create a system to provide sufficient medical care in cooperation with local governments and medical institutions.