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Japan to urge Go To Travel halt from hot spots Osaka and Sapporo as COVID-19 cases surge

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that the cities of Osaka and Sapporo, which have already been excluded from the government’s Go To Travel campaign for inbound trips, should be excluded from outbound travel discounts as well.

Suga made the remarks at the government’s task force meeting to tackle the spread of COVID-19 infections.

Osaka Prefecture reported 383 new cases of the virus on Friday, a day after recording a high of 12 deaths, while Hokkaido recorded 252 and a record nine deaths.

In Tokyo, the metropolitan government reported 570 new infections, its highest mark on record, while Aichi also set a record with 234.

The health ministry said the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients nationwide totaled 435 on Friday, increasing 25 from the previous day and posting a record high for five days in a row, TBS reported.

The figure for Tokyo brought the number of infections confirmed in the capital in November so far to 8,567, topping 8,125 seen in August and reflecting the growing severity of infections.

As test results can take a few days to confirm, Friday’s figure in Tokyo is based on 9,792 tests, a record number, conducted in the capital on Tuesday following a three-day weekend.

Prefectural governments of Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi and Hokkaido have asked bars and restaurants in their capital cities to close earlier than usual through mid-December amid growing unease of a resurgence in cases in metropolises and record-breaking numbers across Japan.

The Tokyo metropolitan government Thursday has also decided to halt the issuance and sale of discount coupons under a state-run subsidy program, dubbed “Go To Eat,” to encourage dining out.

Koike, however, stopped short of calling for the exclusion of Tokyo from the central government’s “Go To Travel” domestic travel subsidy program as the governors of Hokkaido and Osaka did for their areas, saying it was a decision that should be made by the central government.

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