Tokyo sees record number of coronavirus cases, tries to avoid shutdown
As Tokyo battles rising cases of COVID-19, the Japanese government is seeking ways to mitigate hot spots without another shutdown.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike announced Friday the city hit a daily record of 463 cases, up nearly 100 from Thursday’s record of 367, according to The Associated Press.
Across the rest of the country, cases are climbing by more than 1,000 a day.
Some areas that were previously clear of infections — such as Iwate prefecture in Japan’s northeast and Sado island — now have confirmed cases.
“You might have plans or events for summer, but unfortunately this summer will be different from last summer,” Koike said Friday. “We cannot loosen our grips on (anti-infection) measures and I want to share this mindset with you all.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a government-backed national travel campaign on July 22 in an attempt to revive tourism following a slump caused by the pandemic.
According to a report from Reuters Wednesday, a member of the World Health Organization’s influenza panel said the campaign was not timely and created new problems in terms of the spread of the disease.
Koike requested all restaurants and bars this week to close by 10 p.m. to limit community spread of infections that have widely been linked to nightclubs and other recreational pastimes.
There are limits to the measures that Tokyo’s government is legally allowed to impose on businesses. As a result, curfews are a suggestion and not a mandate.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, Japan has recorded more than 36,000 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic. Tokyo has seen 12,701 of those cases and reported 330 total fatalities.