• Bloomberg


Japan needs to remain on high alert for further coronavirus outbreaks as the number of cases with unclear contagion routes increases, Yasutoshi Nishimura, the country’s economy minister and virus czar, said.

The nation’s number of COVID-19 infections has spiked in the past week, with Tokyo reporting more than 200 cases for three straight days.

The minister, speaking on an NHK program Sunday, didn’t say the government is considering declaring a state of emergency, but warned of increased stress on public health centers’ resources. Testing should be strategically and greatly increased, he said.

Second-quarter gross domestic product figures are likely to be “severe,” given the pandemic’s impact on the global economy and the depressed levels of domestic consumption, Nishimura said. But local spending is showing signs of recovery, according to the minister.

Japan is forging ahead with further steps to re-open the economy amid the increase in virus cases. Nishimura said that while those who show symptoms must stay home, in principle Tokyo residents are allowed to travel to other prefectures.

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