Tokyo confirmed at least 143 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, metropolitan government sources said, again breaking the record for the most seen in the capital in a single day.
Meanwhile, the number of people with the pneumonia-causing coronavirus who have died in Japan topped 100 the same day, according to a new tally.
The new cases pushed the total in Tokyo over 1,000, heaping more pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Sunday’s tally follows the 118 cases reported on Saturday, which was the first time the daily figure had topped 100 in the capital. That was revised to 117 on Sunday.
For the second straight weekend, many people in Japan refrained from going out after local authorities asked residents to stay at home except for essential reasons, such as shopping for daily necessities and going to hospitals.
Meanwhile, the number of temporarily closed stores and restaurants appeared to increase from last weekend, as more people took to heart a request by Tokyo’s governor to stay indoors.
Gov. Yuriko Koike appeared on a morning news program Sunday and repeated her call to residents to avoid unnecessary outings, saying that “lives were at stake.”
The metropolitan government said it has secured about 900 beds so far, with 817 patients hospitalized as of Saturday evening. Koike said she expected to have 100 more beds available on Monday.
But concerns have been mounting over whether City Hall can actually keep pace with the spiking infections.
Besides Tokyo, where a surge in cases has made the capital the worst-hit area in the country, stay-at-home requests have been issued by prefectures including Osaka, Fukui, Fukuoka, Miyagi and Ibaraki.
Officials have said the numbers of young patients and those with no clear infection routes are increasing, and are urging people to avoid going out at night. The request comes after the confirmation of a series of cluster infections in entertainment and amusement districts.
Officials are also urging the public to avoid closed, crowded places and close-contact settings where there is a greater risk of infection.