The health ministry is considering providing up to 200,000 yen ($1,900) for each medical worker at hospitals treating coronavirus patients across Japan, ministry sources said Sunday, aimed at supporting doctors and nurses facing risk of infection while working on the frontline.
With a second wave of coronavirus cases expected to occur, the government also hopes that the allowance will provide an incentive for medical institutions such as hospitals to continue accepting patients with COVID-19.
Details of the payment, such as eligibility and full amount, will be thrashed out ahead of the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 to be finalized at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The proposal includes providing 200,000 yen for each frontline worker at hospitals admitting coronavirus patients, and 100,000 yen for each staff at medical institutions that have secured beds and prepared to admit coronavirus patients.
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Staff at nursing homes are also likely to also be eligible for the allowance.
Some local governments have already set forth their own support measures, with Tottori Prefecture announcing last Thursday that it would provide 4,000 yen per day to all medical workers handling patients or people suspected of having coronavirus.
A survey conducted by the Zenkoku Ishi Union, a national labor union comprised of working doctors, found that around 90 percent of doctors involved in testing for or treating COVID-19 said they fear the risk of infection.
But although these frontline doctors sought hazard pay for the dangers they faced, less than 20 percent responded they had received a bonus allowance of any sort.