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Some medical groups and experts believe the Japanese government's Go To Travel campaign has fueled the surge in coronavirus cases nationwide since early November. Do you agree?

32 Comments
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A government encouraging travel during a pandemic is the height of irresponsibility.

38 ( +44 / -6 )

I doubt it, and I think my doubt is reasonable. GoTo Travel campaign was launched last July, joined by Tokyo just a month later. While throughout this summer up to the early autumn, there had been many more trip opportunities and sightseeing/event crowds, the numbers had actually been low even on downward.

GoTo also requires participant both businesses and travellers to comply with prevention measures (otherwise discounts could easily be nullified). Meanwhile many people can still travel regardless of GoTo, and they can be lax, exempted from such requirements. To make the case, you must at least distinguish GoTo from non-Goto mobility for analysis.

I don't see any evidence showing a significant correlation between a rising human mobility driven by GoTo and the resurge. I assume that cold and dry local weather is more responsible for the current surge. No wonder the close neighbor SK is also observing a big surge concurrently.

-27 ( +12 / -39 )

No, your doubt is not reasonable but most likely self serving and your travel analysis completely wrong.

9 ( +22 / -13 )

You'd think that Japab would have learned from China that encouraging mobility at a time when you should be trying to contain the virus is a stupid idea.

Just look at how the ourbreadk spread from Wuhan to all parts of China, during Chinese New Year

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Increase of the spreading of infectious diseases with population movement and people converging in the same place are basic concepts of epidemiology that have been proved true endless times.

Thinking that a campaign that basically is meant to promote these two factors is not affecting the spreading is just magical thinking. Supporting the economy is one thing, doing that precisely in a way that makes control more difficult is a completely different one.

14 ( +22 / -8 )

It's the perfect storm. The clubs in Shibuya, Roppongi, etc., are packed even on weeknights, so throw in GoToTravel, pandemic "fatigue", etc., and the results are not hard to imagine.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Throw people together in hotels, crowded bars, trains etc and of course the chances of transmission are going to increase greatly. I understand the need to keep the capitalist system afloat, but if you're going to travel, please be mindful and mask up, wash hands and maintain distances.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

It would be difficult to prove unequivocally that the Go To campaign is responsible for spreading the virus. Perhaps the timing of the spike in infections is just coincidental. However, introducing a travel campaign during a viral pandemic is completely irresponsible and downright stupid!

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Logic dictates that it at least contributed in some way to the increase in infections.

By how much is open to debate. But, it is certainly not zero.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It would be difficult to prove unequivocally that the Go To campaign is responsible for spreading the virus.

If they did a proper test-and-trace it would be clear and unequivocal.

The people who are out of work/losing profits due to the pandemic could be brought in to do the tracing on the Government yen, thus helping fight the spread of the virus and helping those economically hit.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Cleo,

Please stop being so practical in your approach to the pandemic. Better to spend your time coming up with the next catchphrase for the new government campaign. Like InHospital Be for example.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

"Go to" is not for people's health but for the health of capitalism. This is far from first time lives have been sacrificed to the virus for the sake of profit. This is the first instance I known when capitalism has used the Pied Piper approach to make people risk Coronavirus-19 for travel or food.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Better to spend your time coming up with the next catchphrase for the new government campaign.

Go To Vaccine?

Go To Temple for Pray?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

It’s the clubs ... they need to shut down for a few weeks ...

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

cleo, you are being rational again, far worse suggesting sensible solutions! Can’t have that sort of behaviour!

It is patently obvious it will lead to increased infections. The virus doesn’t move, people do.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

cleo - If they did a proper test-and-trace it would be clear and unequivocal

Are you sure about that Cleo? Perhaps it would work in the first instance, but after a month it would be nearly impossible. They’d have to rely on the Japanese ‘kaizen’ and people coming forward with information, which is not gonna happen for fear of persecution.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some medical groups and experts believe the Japanese government's Go To Travel campaign has fueled the surge in coronavirus cases nationwide since early November. Do you agree?

Yes. I agree

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I haven't seen any numbers of people travelling with Go To Travel but given the virus spikes last month there probably is a link.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Is there anyone who doesn,t doubt it?

I doubt it, and I think my doubt is reasonable.

Apart from our regular LDP bots, that is....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Obviously. So did the Go To Eat campaign. To continue with these campaigns is criminally negligent.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

All those infected in Tokyo spread it like China did during their holiday. IMO.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Perhaps it would work in the first instance, but after a month it would be nearly impossible. They’d have to rely on the Japanese ‘kaizen’ and people coming forward with information

There's no reason why it shouldn't work, done diligently enough. Anyone testing positive goes into self-isolation (hospitalised if symptoms are severe enough) and provides a list of family members, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues etc., and each of those in turn get tested. Those who test positive go into self-isolation and provides a list.... rinse and repeat as often as necessary/possible.

Granted you wouldn't catch all the spreaders, but you would catch a lot more than by handing out travel vouchers and meal tickets. And the people doing the tracing would be doing a valuable job and earning a living.

Following a community testing pilot carried out in Liverpool in the UK, the infection rate in the city fell from around 700 per 100,000 in mid-October to less than 140 per 100,000 by late November. It's possible to find fault with the Liverpool testing scheme, but the bottom line seems to be that testing helps, encouraging people to gather in tourist spots, watering holes and restaurants does not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Some medical groups and experts believe the Japanese government's Go To Travel campaign has fueled the surge in coronavirus cases nationwide since early November.

Testing numbers are deliberately being kept low so of course we do not have the data to know. One thing for sure is that GoTo has fueled a surge in the bank accounts of certain ruling party politicians and their close corporate cronies so of course it will continue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Go To Hospital.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No, this is not the case. COVID is seasonal, like the flu, and as the weather has gotten colder, cases will increase. We see seasonal flu increases regardless of whether people travel or not. COVID is the same.

The vast majority of people in Japan are at little risk from COVID, and Japan’s economy is not robust enough to endure any lockdowns. The loss of people who are mostly in their 80’s is seen as less serious than the loss of jobs and livelihoods of those who cannot be harmed by COVID. An economic collapse could easily cause more death and misery than COVID.

Japan’s approach to COVID is the most rational in the world right now. For those who don’t like it, you are free to return to your home countries, deal with closed shops, stores, restaurants, enduring curfews, and/or being locked down.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

No, this is not the case. COVID is seasonal, like the flu, and as the weather has gotten colder, cases will increase. We see seasonal flu increases regardless of whether people travel or not. COVID is the same.

Show you data, epidemiology experts are of the opinion that both things contribute to the spreading, for you to say one one is responsible and the other has no effect you need to demonstrate it.

The loss of people who are mostly in their 80’s is seen as less serious than the loss of jobs and livelihoods of those who cannot be harmed by COVID.

False dichotomy, not every death is over 80yo, losing lives is not "less serious" than losing jobs, everybody can be harmed by the pandemic, loss of jobs also happens with the tragic overrun of health services (or paraphrasing, public health collapse is sure to cause also economic debacle) AND you can support the economy without promoting travel and crowding in business.

The invalid argument of "go back to your country" has no meaning, because many of the people criticizing with perfectly valid reasons (and scientific data) are nationals that do not go back to any other country. If your argument do not work against the medical groups and experts from the original question then it has no value at all.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Yes, but not by a huge amount seems to be the reasonable answer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I knew on the day of its inception that the Go To travel will facilitate in the spread of the COVID-19 virus and I am a simpleton. Says a lot about these experts and medical groups don't it?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Total shut down will save humans.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yes..I agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hesitated between ‘I’m not sure’ and ‘yes’, but I think yes is the answer on balance of probability. Many above have already put the argument better than I can.

Every government is attempting to walk a fine line between two extremes with an unknown, invisible and as yet uncontrollable enemy. Few have got it ‘right’.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You want to spread the virus around, move people around! People stay home !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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