Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has announced that he's partially halting government programs brought in to boost travel and dining out.
Suga was speaking at a coronavirus taskforce meeting on Saturday. Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi and Japanese Tourism Minister Akaba Kazuyoshi were also in attendance.
Suga said the country's coronavirus cases have reached record levels and that utmost caution is still required. He said he will work with local governors to introduce stronger measures in areas seeing a rapid rise in infections.
On Friday, an expert panel on the coronavirus advised the government to review the "Go To" programs.
For "Go To Travel," Suga said he will call for a suspension of new reservations to regions seeing a resurgence of coronavirus cases. For "Go To Eat," he said he will urge local governments to suspend issuing meal coupons.
Suga said the central government will assist local governments financially to subsidize eateries that agree to limit their business hours and other measures. He said that the government will allocate a budget of about 481 million dollars for this purpose.
The prime minister added that should the virus be confirmed in medical or nursing care facilities, the government will pay for all residents and workers to be tested to prevent serious cases from occurring.
Suga instructed relevant ministers to work closely with local governments and do their utmost on measures to protect people. He went on to say that cooperation from citizens is vital so that even stronger measures that could limit social and economic activities do not have to be implemented.
He called on people to take thorough measures, including wearing facemasks, even while dining out, washing one's hands, and avoiding the "Three Cs" -- closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.