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GOJ releases new recommendations for reducing people-to-people contact

  • April 23, 2020
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All national dailies reported that the GOJ coronavirus taskforce made up of public health experts released recommendations yesterday calling for the public to make additional efforts to reduce people-to-people contact by 80%. They advised citizens to avoid going to supermarkets in groups, wear face masks when talking to others, use telemedicine, shop online, and utilize takeout food services. The team also urged people not to travel during the upcoming Golden Week holidays. The leading virologists and epidemiologists are reportedly alarmed that the number of people out and about has not declined as much as they had hoped. They are especially concerned that many supermarkets in urban suburbs are often crowded with families and other shoppers and that not many companies in metropolitan areas are allowing their employees to telework or work flexible hours. Tokyo Governor Koike indicated to the press on Wednesday that restrictions may be imposed to limit the numbers of shoppers in supermarkets.


During a GOJ coronavirus taskforce headquarters meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Abe explained that the number of people out and about has only dropped by 60% on weekdays in urban areas. While underscoring the urgent need to reduce people-to-people contact by 80%, the premier pleaded with all citizens to stay at home as much as possible particularly during Golden Week. According to the dailies, the prime minister will probably decide in early May whether to extend the nationwide state of emergency beyond May 6 after hearing the views of public health experts.   


Mainichi said that although the daily number of cases appears to have leveled off since April 11, a consensus is emerging among experts and the GOJ that the state of emergency cannot be lifted at the end of the Golden Week, with one virologist on the panel insisting that it must be kept in place in view of the shortage of hospital beds for patients in serious condition.   

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