Japan to halt domestic travel campaign in areas of high virus cases

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FILE PHOTO: Yoshihide Suga, Japan's prime minister, speaks during a news conference in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Yoshihide Suga, Japan's prime minister, speaks during a news conference in Tokyo

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.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Lincoln Feast.)