• Kyodo


Commuters and residents of Tokyo expressed worries about the resurgence of COVID-19 cases Thursday when the capital reported yet another record figure of 286 cases and a day after Tokyo raised its alert to the highest level of four.

“It will be tough if our activities are restricted (by another state of emergency declaration),” said Akiko Takeda, 69, as she visited the Tokyo Sea Life Park aquarium.

“It’s important for people to think we must protect ourselves on our own,” she said.

A 35-year-old woman also living in Tokyo said she has no choice but to commute to work.

“I commute every day now. I am busy at work so it is impossible to return to working from home even after the alert level was raised.”

A 56-year-old man who commutes to Tokyo on a shinkansen from Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, about twice a week and teleworks on other days, said he too does not think he will change his current working style.

“The train is not crowded and I don’t worry how people at my hometown perceive me, but my wife seems to be worried about me,” he said.

The Tokyo government raised its alert to the highest of four levels, meaning “infections are spreading,” and urged residents to avoid nonessential travel to other prefectures and refrain from visiting nightlife and dining establishments that have not taken sufficient measures to prevent infections.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, along with many other heads of local governments, has also voiced reservations about the central government’s plan to begin its Go To Travel tourism subsidy campaign this month, as the program could end up spreading the virus and strain regional medical systems.

Asami Kitamoto, 33, a homemaker who was taking a walk in a Tokyo park with her 2-year-old child, said she is now wondering whether her family should cancel their summer travel plans.

“We want to go on a trip, as our older child will start summer break soon, but I’m now scared to travel by plane or by rail,” she said. “We may go by car, or cancel the trip.”

Koike said Thursday’s figure, breaking the previous record of 243 cases set last Friday, reflects a rise in the number of daily tests conducted in the capital to over 4,000, also a new high.

The number of new infections in Tokyo has been on an uptrend since a state of emergency was completely lifted May 25. Japan as a whole confirmed 454 new infections Wednesday, the highest since the lifting.

Unlike in past weeks, new cases in recent days have no longer been focused on young people working in or visiting nightlife districts. There have been reports of infections at nursery schools and care facilities for elderly people, indicating the virus is spreading to other generations.

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