National

Tokyo reports 206 new COVID-19 cases, topping 200 for four straight days for first time

Kyodo

Tokyo reported 206 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, topping the 200 mark for the fourth straight day for the first time ever.

The capital also reported 206 cases on Saturday, accounting for more than half of the total of 383 new cases across Japan for the day.

The Osaka Prefectural Government reported 32 cases in the prefecture Sunday, out of which 21 were designated as having unknown infection routes. With Sunday’s figures, Osaka issued a yellow light warning based on its own criteria to judge the seriousness of the outbreak. The criteria include the number of patients with unknown infection routes in the past week doubling compared to the number for the previous week, and the number of new cases in the past week exceeding 120.

Despite the alarming trend, Japan relaxed its guidelines Friday for holding large sporting and other events, with the top government spokesman suggesting the government will not ask people to stay at home again to curb the virus’s spread.

Yukio Edano, head of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition party, told reporters Sunday that the government should issue a state of emergency again for Tokyo and surrounding areas.

“They can’t just leave the situation without doing anything,” Edano said. “Looking at the situation objectively, they should issue a state of emergency at least in Tokyo.”

As of Saturday, Tokyo’s cumulative total reached 7,721, about a third of the 21,526 confirmed cases with 996 deaths in Japan, which excludes 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February.

Of Saturday’s 206 infections in the capital, none have developed severe symptoms, while 101 were designated as having unknown infection routes, according to the metropolitan government.

By age group, 159 were in their 30s or younger, accounting for around 80 percent of the new infection total. As of Saturday, 529 people were hospitalized, including five with severe symptoms, according to the metropolitan government.

Forty-eight cases were related to nightlife establishments such as host clubs, and 59 people were infected through the workplace, family members or dining out among other routes, according to the Tokyo government.

Among the cases reported Saturday were six people who were at a performance held at a theater in Shinjuku Ward between June 30 and July 5. The total number of visitors and workers at the performance who were infected reached 20.

As of Saturday, Tokyo's cumulative total reached 7,721, about a third of the 21,526 confirmed cases with 996 deaths in Japan, which excludes 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February. | Bloomberg
As of Saturday, Tokyo’s cumulative total reached 7,721, about a third of the 21,526 confirmed cases with 996 deaths in Japan, which excludes 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February. | Bloomberg

Also on Saturday, Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward announced that a total of 22 infections were confirmed among workers and children at a nursery school run by the ward. Ward officials said there are no patients with severe symptoms. The nursery will be closed until July 22.

In the meantime, the number of new infections has also been on the rise in Tokyo’s vicinity, with Kanagawa Prefecture on Saturday reporting 34 cases, the highest since the nationwide state of emergency was completely lifted, on May 25, and Saitama Prefecture 35, following 44 on Friday, according to the local governments.

Saitama Gov. Motohiro Ono said Saturday he will request nightlife establishments that have not taken sufficient measures to stem the virus’s spread to shut business from Monday. Ono said the request is aimed at “ensuring that those businesses thoroughly implement necessary anti-virus measures.”

Since late June, group infections in Saitama Prefecture have occurred at four nightlife establishments that serve customers in close-contact settings, with more than 50 infections confirmed among their employees and customers.

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