Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, left, and government taskforce chief Shigeru Omi attend a press conference on the COVID-19 situation in Japan at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on Friday night. Photo: Nicolas Datiche/Pool via AP
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Suga urges citizens to have quiet New Year; 5 cases of new virus variant confirmed

44 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Tetsushi Kajimoto

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If we don't bring infections down now, once they surge again after the New Year period it won't be easy to change the downward trend,

What downward trend is he talking about? Has he actually been looking at the charts?

Of course, reported numbers will come down next week, since every day is essentially a holiday, meaning around 1000 tests per day, but it doesn't mean the virus is taking a holiday.

17 ( +25 / -8 )

Suga also announced a package of 270 billion yen for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients which have come under strain due to the rapid rise in cases across Hokkaido as well as large cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

Imagine if the 'financial strain of funding the ever growing Olympic money pit' was to be diverted to fighting this ever expanding virus in Japan... I wonder how much better off everyone living in Japan would be?

27 ( +28 / -1 )

Suga also announced a package of 270 billion yen for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients which have come under strain due to the rapid rise in cases across Hokkaido as well as large cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

Imagine if the 'financial strain of funding the ever growing Olympic money pit' was to be diverted to fighting this ever expanding virus in Japan... I wonder how much better off everyone living in Japan would be?

YES EXACTLY.plus unecessary arms shopping....go to travel "campaign"....ALL of these money could be used in different way,say shopping of vaccines,PCR tests,supporting money for cashout for these who have lost jobs or were forced to close business....

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Yes, we should stay at home like PM Suga and not go to eat at steak restaurants -great advice!

23 ( +26 / -3 )

I sure hope the current vacines will work against the new strain. The "experts" so far say it will. New cases of covid-19 keep rising. The big hope is the vacine. Other methods of keeping the cases down are not enough to get rid of covid.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The vírus will continue to mutate and (one day) that means it will cease to be a problem.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

I wish that countries like England would do more to keep the virus under control. It seems that the latest strain is from there.

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga urged the nation on Friday to spend a quiet New Year period without the usual social gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has been breaking infection records almost on a daily basis.

Following in the footsteps of Abe with the ineffectual "urging". Like with Abe's frequent urging of Japan Inc. to raise wages during his tenure this urging will have less than optimal results.

It is government by the path of least resistance and seems optimized for the comfort of the politicians.

Unfortunately, the basic urges of the public to have the means to keep a roof over their head and feed their families are not being heeded and even impeded by the policies of Suga and the LDP.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I want you to spend a quiet New Year," Suga told a news conference

ha stick it in your ear hole Suga. If you talking about that new strain from the uk, why it here ??

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Kids and young people are the biggest spreaders of the virus because they're asymtomatic and don't even know they have it.

IMHO,I think this group should be vaccinated first otherwise the spread won't stop.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

When will countries start asking China for help/advice being that it is the only country on earth that is NOT having a major increase in the virus? As they move down the list of total infections, now down to 80, they obviously have a way to tackle this.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

I highly doubt the new strain is from the UK. We have been too quick to blame other countries regarding this virus, when in fact, the behaviour of many on our own doorstep has been extremely questionable of late.

If anything, I believe it's more likely the new strain developed here in Japan.

Stay safe all and have a merry Christmas

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Thomas GoodtimeToday  07:56 am JST

If anything, I believe it's more likely the new strain developed here in Japan.

This is not the time for jokes. My dad is dying from the virus that everyone knows originated in China.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

When will countries start asking China for help/advice being that it is the only country on earth that is NOT having a major increase in the virus? As they move down the list of total infections, now down to 80, they obviously have a way to tackle this.

No-one with any credibility believes any of the numbers or propaganda coming out of Communist China. Especially in relation to Covid.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Instead of a constant stream of hypocritical excuses Suga could have the vaccines approved now and not end of February and save thousands of lives. If not, he will be bowing again over that sometimes next year

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I totally agree with Ken that priority should be younger people. Specially those in their 20's who don't give a...

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The last pandemic in 1918 which killed 10% of the infected disappeared.

Why?

Either herd immunity developed or various viral mutations stopped being deadly to humans.

Maybe, a mixture of both.

If Covid-19 is naturally occurring ie not a bio weapon, then why would it not follow the same pattern?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

If you survive COVID-19, you will live forever.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Japanese Government Message,

Japanese People: Stay Home

chinese Tourist: Welcome and Enjoy !

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@kurisu

There is an interesting article on what you discuss below.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/09/01/1918-flu-pandemic-end/

What you said in your first post is one key factor: the virus mutated and became less lethal. Additionally it seems a natural herd immunity also occured. The virus (in a mutated form) is still around today - as also indicated and as with Covid it infected animals (human to animal transmission). The flu that year killed over 50 million.

It appears the mutations have hit Japan and likely from Japanese business people returning from the UK. Let's hope the mutations remain not more lethal than the strain which is already here in Japan.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

While Japan has avoided the huge infection numbers seen in other parts of the world, the number of new daily cases surpassed 3,000 for the first time this month. 

Yeah, a zillion times I have read this statement in every covid related article making it look like it is cut and paste. Considering, the number of infected cannot exceed the number of tests. The numbers of will be a reflection of the number of test. Since this pandemic started Japan has done on average 15,000 test a day while the U.S. has done on average 810,000 test a day. Number of tests is an important variable that cannot be conveniently minimized when comparing cases. You don't do 9 tests and discover more than 9 cases. Until Japan does the number of tests that is commensurate with its population comparing with other nations is like comparing apples and oranges.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Is this another Suga request that's going to be followed by a party he attends with more than 8 people?

And now we see what simply requesting Japanese nationals stay home who come in from abroad on this whole "honor system" works with the people coming back from Britain. Well done! I guess they never learned from the Diamond Princess.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

While Japan has avoided MEASURING the huge infection numbers seen in other parts of the world

FIFY.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“The infections aren't coming down and if we keep going like this, we won't be able to avoid further spread of the virus."

Um, yes Prime Minister, exactly. So shouldn’t you be doing something about that?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

governments leading coronavirus expert Shigeru Omi. "The infections aren't coming down and if we keep going like this, we won't be able to avoid further spread of the virus."

Gee ya think?

Why they get paid the big bucks. Government officials doing what they do, stating the obvious with little or no actual content, direction or any sign that they have a coherent plan or way forward. Trying to extrapolate anything of worth from their utterances becomes a hobby in cryptology for us long term ex pats. How is your own company or firm coping? How are the messages being transmitted? At all? Or is everyone just huddling together trying not to become the next sacrifice? Lots of silence, sighs and teeth sucking. Actually thought they’d handle things better, the eternal optimist...

New strain already arrived. Hunker down folks, we are in for a long haul here,

6 ( +8 / -2 )

ha stick it in your ear hole Suga. If you talking about that new strain from the uk, why it here ??

Well obviously Suga paid to have it shipped to Japan - express.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

direction or any sign that they have a coherent plan or way forward.

I think you are a being a bit harsh here. They have a plan forward -- holding the Olympics at all costs.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

I want you to spend a quiet New Year," Suga told a news conference

Whilst I,ll quietly have a bit of a dinner party with my buddies , just gotta make sure no one sees me this time.

.

"The infections aren't coming down

Thanks to my ignoring everyone,s advice for weeks and sticking to my " Go to Travel " pet.

and if we keep going like this, we won't be able to avoid further spread of the virus."

Hence I ordered "Go to" suspended not immediately but 2 weeks after announcing it. And only suspended for 14 days. Then I,ll merrily restart it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Suga, while having a steak dinner with 7 of his friends in Ginza, urges citizens to have quiet New Year.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I think the mutation of the virus started long time ago, and everywhere, not only in England, but almost all over the world. That mutation naturally occurs with the virus. Unfortunately, researchers, medical staffs had been focusing more on detecting infected patients, curing the patients, developing vaccines...but not identifying the virus types.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

What's his steak in the matter?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

“Suga also announced a package of 270 billion yen for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients”

my wife works as a nurse in a COVID covered hospital and all she gets is a bento and monster drinks. Sure the owner will share the wealth... not!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

an urge isn’t convincing enough maybe if you government would of extended the new year holiday would be better

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kids and young people are the biggest spreaders of the virus because they're asymtomatic and don't even know they have it.

IMHO,I think this group should be vaccinated first otherwise the spread won't stop.

The vaccine isn’t recommended for children, unless they have severe disabilities. Not suitable for pregnant women neither.

If you vaccinate the most vulnerable first, serious illness and deaths from Covid will go down.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There is no silver bullet to avoiding the virus. California has the harshest covid lockdowns in the US yet they are seeing a severe surge in cases. California is a heavily Progressive state and most likely to obey the dictates of the state but the virus is out of control there. The Japanese are very good mask wearers and aren’t as likely as American college kids to congregate in large groups to socialize. Even the WHO said that large scale lockdowns aren’t very effective.

WHO is hopeful that countries will use targeted interventions where and when needed, based on the local situation.

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/herd-immunity-lockdowns-and-covid-19

The best thing that can be done is to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible starting with the elderly and those with life threatening ailments. People that are of low risk of death should be asked to take common sense precautions but otherwise left alone.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Wolfpack

and aren’t as likely as American college kids to congregate in large groups to socialize.

Guess you don't live here. Go to any uni and you'll see groups socialising together. School children too.

The five new cases were probably brought into the country with returning Japanese citizens from the UK.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Stay home Mr.Suga?

How was your steak dinner Mr.Suga?

What a loada......!!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@AMS

You are most likely correct. The University of Chicago identified several mutations back in June. The mutations could very well have come from the US

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Please do not try using the 1918 Flu pandemic as a model.

The 2 virus have very little in common other than they are RNA viruses.

The fact Covid is called a Corona virus says it all and is only the second Corona type virus to affect humans.

Yes it is suspected that the 1918 virus mutated into a less dangerous form but again the method is used to multiply within the body is far different and something our immune system is fully used to dealing with. Not so with Corona viruses seen this is only the second time are far as the experts know that one has reached the point of infecting humans. Up to know each Covid-19 mutation has lead to a more transmissible and virulent strain, the new UK strain has shown that again with it being more easily transmitted and The new South African strain is not only more easily transmitted but seems it is more virulent in children, meaning it is causing more severe sickness in children, something the past strains didn't, as far as I can find there has now been between 5 to 8 new strains since the original one possibly more. So anyone think oh heard immunity and it just fading away like the 1918 flu virus may be just wishful thinking and the only way will be immunization using an RNA vaccine that targets the receptor on the Corona virus (those little nobs that stick out giving the virus it's name meaning crown.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

949 today. Oops!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Japantime The new covid strain in UK arrived from South Africa. Stop looking outside Japan and China for someone else to blame. There is no point having political leaders who don’t lead !!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@since1981

I'm extremely sorry to hear about your father. I hope he will pull through!

Apologies if it seemed I was making a joke. I wasn't.

My best wishes to you and your family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thomas Goodtime, no hard feelings bro. I'm sure by now everyone knows someone who has been infected. As for my dad, he did survive it but it has shortened his life dramatically. He was determined to make it to 90 (2023) and last year looked like he would. Now we wonder if he'll make it to spring 2021.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@since1981,

That's really good to hear that your dad survived. Some nice news to hear, and I'm happy for you and your family. I hope he continues to get better and live as long as possible.

All the best for 2021, and a belated Merry Christmas!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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