All national dailies reported extensively on the recommendations by the GOJ experts’ panel on the new coronavirus that were submitted to the government on Wednesday. The panel reportedly warned that Japan’s healthcare system could collapse before a sharp increase in coronavirus infections occurs in urban areas. The panel stressed that it is necessary for Tokyo and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka, and Hyogo to take drastic measures as quickly as possible to prevent the healthcare system from collapsing. Pointing out that the number of coronavirus patients whose routes of infection are unknown is drastically increasing recently, the panel recommended that people refrain from nonessential outings and schools consider remaining closed. However, the panel also said that responses may differ depending on the scope of the spread of the infection in each area. The panel also called for citizens’ cooperation by asking them to avoid gathering in large numbers and visiting nightspots.
In a related development, all national dailies wrote that the Tokyo metropolitan government decided on Wednesday to extend the current closure of public high schools until the end of the Golden Week holidays that finish on May 6 in response to the recommendations made on Wednesday by the GOJ experts’ panel. The paper speculated that most Tokyo cities will decide to extend the current closure of public elementary and middle schools until May 6.