National

Rise in Tokyo coronavirus patients slowing, top expert says

JIJI

Growth in the number of novel coronavirus patients in Tokyo has been slowing this week, according to an expert monitoring infection trends with a health ministry coronavirus response team.

The number of patients in the Japanese capital had continued to increase rapidly, but the growth started to slow somewhat around April 10 and has continued to decelerate further this week, Hokkaido University Prof. Hiroshi Nishiura told reporters Friday.

This is apparently thanks to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s request, made on March 25, for residents to refrain from going out, Nishiura said, stressing the need to continue analyzing future developments.

Thorough infection prevention measures should be kept in place, Nishiura said, urging people to continue efforts to reduce interactions with others toward the Golden Week holiday period between later this month and early May.

There is a possibility that people-to-people contact has not been reduced sufficiently in some areas, Nishiura said, citing positioning data from mobile phones and other information.

He said that the effects of the government’s state of emergency declaration over the coronavirus need to be examined later. The emergency declaration, issued on April 7, initially covered seven prefectures that saw surges in infections —Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka. The declaration was expanded to the entire country on April 16.

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