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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 19 - 25  > Shii: Gov’t should utilize wisdom of experts and increase budget to contain COVID-19
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2020 February 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Shii: Gov’t should utilize wisdom of experts and increase budget to contain COVID-19

February 21, 2020

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on February 20 at a press conference in the Diet building said that the government should strengthen its measures to combat the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by fully utilizing the wisdom of infectious disease experts in the country and by sparing no expense for necessary measures.

Shii referred to the news that two deaths due to COVID-19 were reported earlier on the day of passengers on the cruise ship Diamond Princess which has been quarantined in Yokohama Port. Expressing his condolences on their deaths, Shii underscored the need to find out why the government failed to prevent the virus from spreading among passengers and crew on the ship.

Criticizing the government’s countermeasures against COVID-19, Shii said that the government is reluctant to fully utilize the knowledge of experts and does not allocate enough financial resources to implement necessary measures.

Shii pointed out that the government did not call for an expert meeting until as late as February 16 and that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo showed up at the first meeting but stayed there for only three minutes. Shii said, “This represents neglect on the part of the government to immediately implement the necessary measures to fight COVID-19.”

Noting that the amount of money the government budgeted to its emergency countermeasure package is only 15.3 billion yen, Shii said that this budget is far from enough to deal with the potential spike in coronavirus patient numbers and to provide medical care to COVID-19 patients in serious condition.

Shii pointed out that it is necessary for the government to drastically step up implementation of needed countermeasures. He said, “Japan has many infectious disease experts. The government should make full use of their expertise to contain COVID-19.” He also stressed that the drastic increase in government spending to properly address the outbreak is essential in order to provide financial support to private hospitals, municipalities, and universities to help them implement their own measures to fight COVID-19.

Past related articles:
> Japanese gov’t under criticism over its poor handling of new coronavirus outbreak [February 16, 2020]
> JCP Koike demands countermeasures against new coronavirus [January 28, 2020]
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