Top official singles out drinking parties and dining as Tokyo virus numbers surge


Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura voiced concern Tuesday over the resurgence of novel coronavirus infections in Tokyo, calling for extra vigilance during dining out and attending drinking parties.

“I’m worried that infections are spreading due to people eating out and having drinking parties,” said Nishimura, who is in charge of the government’s measures in response to the outbreak, in an interview. “Each and every one of us needs to take thorough steps against infection,” he added.

He reiterated the importance of continuing efforts to avoid the “three Cs” of closed, crowded and close-contact settings to reduce infection risks. Infections are “becoming a big wave,” he warned, adding that, “We need to address the situation with a sense of crisis.”

Nishimura also expressed his intention to have more employees of nightlife establishments with hospitality services, such as so-called host clubs, undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the virus.

PCR tests will be accelerated for employees of such establishments in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures — Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa — through cooperation with their operators, Nishimura said. Such venues are suspected to be hot spots of infection.

In line with the testing, business suspension requests should be issued on establishments that do not take infection prevention measures, he indicated.

“I want these measures to be taken in entertainment districts nationwide,” Nishimura said.

Tokyo has seen its number of infections each day top 100 or even 200 on most days in July.

Even experts are divided over how the situation will develop in the capital, Nishimura said. “Some experts say the number will remain at this level while others say it will go up further,” he said.

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