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Coronavirus

Japan to halt travel scheme where COVID count is high

Government tries to balance economic needs and public health

Cases of COVID-19 have continued to climb nationwide in Japan, with new infections reaching a record 539 in Tokyo on Nov. 21.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) -- Japan said it will suspend a domestic travel campaign in areas where coronavirus infections are especially high as cases in the capital Tokyo hit a record high on Saturday.

The partial suspension of the domestic travel campaign marks a change in direction for the government, which was holding back on curtailing a domestic travel subsidy programme.

"We will suspend new reservations under the Go To Travel programme for trips destined for regions seeing a rise in coronavirus infections," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.

Suga has been attempting a balancing act of revitalising Japan's hard-hit economy while keeping the spread of the coronavirus under control. However, an expert panel recommended on Friday that the government curtail the programme if there is a further rise in cases.

New coronavirus cases have continued to climb nationally. In Tokyo, the daily infection rate reached a record 539 cases on Saturday.

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