• Staff report


Tokyo confirmed 165 new cases of coronavirus infection on Wednesday, with the daily count falling below 200 for three days in a row but surpassing the past two days.

Wednesday’s figure, which brings the capital’s cumulative total to 8,354, is higher than Monday’s 119 and Tuesday’s 143. During the four days through Sunday, the tally had exceeded 200.

The latest count comes as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government upgraded its virus alert by one notch to the highest level of its four-tier warning system.

The move is in response to the recent rises of infection in Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures.

Kanagawa confirmed 39 infections on Wednesday, a record high since the lifting of a state of emergency in late May, and Saitama reported 31 new cases.

In the Kansai region, Osaka saw a spike on Wednesday with 61 cases, the highest since it reported 84 on April 20.

Both the Tokyo metropolitan and central governments have denied they would immediately put strict measures in place, such as declaring the state of emergency again after lifting the previous one in late May.

But the recent cases, highlighted by infection clusters that have occurred in Tokyo’s nightlife districts, are now believed to be spreading to other establishments while untraceable infections are growing, prompting Gov. Yuriko Koike to take some action.

The central government’s Go To Travel campaign starting next week has also amplified public concern over the possible spread of the virus from Tokyo to rural areas, where the capacity of medical systems isn’t enough in the event of a surge of infections.

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