Japan's COVID-19 cases hit daily records outside Tokyo

2020-07-29 08:34:15Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

Japan's number of new daily COVID-19 infections increased by 965 on Tuesday, bringing the nation's cumulative total to 32,229, not including those connected to a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama in February.

Tokyo remains the epicenter of the outbreak while concerns over a broader spread of the virus across the country have also been rising.

Record daily increases in infections were reported in multiple prefectures on Tuesday. Prefectural authorities started to issue new social restrictions, calling for compulsory measures against certain businesses not following antiviral requirements or refusing to cooperate.

Owing to a spike in cases in the western region, the Osaka prefectural government decided to request its citizens to not drink in nighttime entertainment areas where the virus has seen a resurgence. People were asked not to socialize in groups of more than five when drinking.

Osaka reported a single-day record of 155 new COVID-19 cases, surging from 87 reported a day earlier, with the western prefecture seeing cases remain in triple-digits for five successive days through Sunday.

The Aichi prefectural government, meanwhile, recorded a record single-day tally of 110 new infections. Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura described the predicament as "very serious," urging residents to refrain from conducting nonessential activities.

The Tokyo metropolitan government, for its part, reported 266 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, amid rising concerns over the rapid pace of the spread of infections this month.

The latest figure followed 131 cases confirmed the previous day in Tokyo when the figure dropped below the 200-mark for the first time in seven days.

The capital of 14 million people has seen new infections surpassing 100 for 20 straight days, the metropolitan's data showed.

New cases of the virus in July have surpassed the 5,000-mark in the capital, accounting for about 50 percent of Tokyo's cumulative total of 11,611 cases and one-third of the nation's total, sparking concerns about the record pace of the virus' spread.

The government's recently launched subsidized "Go To Travel" campaign aimed at bolstering domestic travel and the tourism industry by offering travelers subsidies on transportation and accommodation. This has raised concerns among some local officials that the virus could spread across prefectural lines if the number of domestic travelers increases during the summer.

Tokyo was abruptly cut from the campaign, with Tokyo residents and trips to and from Tokyo made ineligible for the subsidies owing to the capital's coronavirus crisis.

While concerns still remain about disproportionately high numbers of people in their 20s and 30s testing positive for the virus recently, the metropolitan government has voiced concerns about rising numbers of those in their 40s and 50s testing positive.

With nighttime entertainment establishments also having been a hotbed for cluster outbreaks in the capital and in other urban areas, Japan's minister in charge of the coronavirus response Yasutoshi Nishimura said more stringent measures should be taken.

These could include the naming of the establishments where infections are detected amid insufficient antiviral measures so that the public would know not to go there.

Nishimura made the remarks on Tuesday at a meeting with the mayors of six major cities, noting that eating and drinking establishments should comply with guidelines set by the nightlife industry to help prevent the spread of the virus.

During the video conference with the mayors of Fukuoka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Sapporo and Yokohama, Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa stated that "compulsory measures" should be taken against businesses that do not cooperate with authorities.

Following Tokyo and Osaka, Kanagawa Prefecture reported 33 new cases taking its cumulative total to 2,284, Saitama added 55 cases to 2,143, while Chiba's total cases hit 1,513 after 23 new cases were reported as of Tuesday evening.

The nationwide death toll, according to the latest figures, currently stands at 1,014. 


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