Japan on ‘most alert’ on COVID-19, Tokyo at highest degree | Japan

Record 2,201 cases were reported on Wednesday, prompting Tokyo authorities to put the city on high alert.

Japan is on “high alert” after confirming a record number of daily coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Thursday, but the government has not yet planned to impose further restrictions to contain the outbreak.

On Wednesday around 2,201 new cases were registered nationwide, almost 500 of them in the capital Tokyo, a sprawling metropolis with almost 14 million inhabitants.

City authorities later raised the city to the highest level on a four-point scale, but the move does not place any additional restrictions on activity, and Japanese media said premature business closings are unlikely for the time being.

While the numbers are small compared to the numbers in some other countries, they represent a sharp increase for Japan, where the tests are often less extensive than in other parts of the world.

“We are now in a high alert situation,” Suga told reporters.

“I ask you, the Japanese people, to fully implement principles such as wearing masks,” he added, encouraging people to wear them while eating in restaurants.

Even if Tokyo is at the highest level on its four-point scale with COVID-19, companies are unlikely to have to cut their hours [Issei Kato/Reuters]National broadcaster NHK said Suga asked expert advisors to meet on Thursday and Friday to investigate the growing number of infections before the government takes further action.

The main government spokesperson said it will monitor infection rates and hospitals’ ability to deal with them before acting.

“We will respond appropriately according to the conditions,” said Katsunobu Kato at a regular press conference.

Suga said he would be supportive of local regions if they urged businesses to close early and that restrictions, including restricting groups in restaurants to four, should be considered.

Japan has so far taken a relatively relaxed approach to the coronavirus, with few of the severe restrictions imposed elsewhere in the world. Even a nationwide state of emergency announced earlier this year didn’t require companies to close or stay at home.

Although the tests have increased, they have remained comparatively low. Around 5,000 to 6,000 people are tested every day in the capital.

Still, Japan has had a relatively small outbreak so far, with nearly 121,000 registered cases and just over 1,900 deaths since the virus was first discovered in the country in January.

Comments are closed.