Japan is mulling new measures to reduce mounting pressure on its public health system amid the coronavirus outbreak, local media reported on Friday.

A draft plan prepared by the country’s Health Ministry aims to limit the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in the country, according to a report by daily Japan News.

Under the plan, only patients aged 65 or above, along with those who are chronically ill, irrespective of age, will be admitted to hospitals.

All infected people “will not be subject to hospitalization across the board,” according to the report.

To prevent a shortage of hospital beds, Japan’s current measures require the government to quarantine asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms at designated hotels or other suitable places.

The new plan is set to be discussed on Friday and, if approved, will likely be implemented through an ordinance next month.

Epidemic situation

Japan’s overall case count stood at 78,223 by until Thursday night, including 1,473 deaths and nearly 69,500 recoveries.

On Friday, a member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party became the first lawmaker to test positive for the coronavirus.

The lawmaker from the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, has been identified as Takatori Shuichi, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Meanwhile, tour operators and hotels have started bookings for trips to and from the capital Tokyo, which are set to begin on Oct. 1, Kyodo News Agency reported.

The bookings will be covered under a government-sponsored subsidy program launched in July to boost tourism.

The government is infusing $12.9 billion in the tourism sector to push travel across Japan, especially to tourist spots hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The program was launched on July 22 and over 13.3 million people stayed at hotels using the discounts offered under the campaign by the end of August.

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