National

Tokyo reports 18 new coronavirus cases and may lift alert by Friday

STAFF REPORT

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 18 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, marking a fourth straight day of daily counts below 20.

Meanwhile, the capital is considering lifting the Tokyo alert issued last week as early as Friday. That is because the number of daily infections has fallen below 20 cases for the past several days in addition to the improvement in medical care services, TV Asahi reported.

Tokyo moved to phase two of its three-stage roadmap for easing shutdown requests for businesses on June 1 after the government's state of emergency for Tokyo and four other prefectures was lifted on May 25. If the Tokyo alert is lifted, that would mean the capital can move to phase three, under which pachinko parlors, bars and arcades would be encouraged to reopen.

The daily count for the capital has been in the double digits for 10 consecutive days. Keeping the weekly average of daily cases under 20 is one of Tokyo’s criteria for easing business closure and stay-at-home requests. Tokyo’s tally rose to 5,426, with 311 deaths.

Across Japan, 45 new infections with the pneumonia-causing virus were confirmed Tuesday, raising the total number of cases, including those aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, to 17,929, with 936 deaths, according to Kyodo News.

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