Tokyo reported 290 coronavirus infections Saturday, marking the third consecutive day of over 200 cases in the capital, the metropolitan government said.
Saturday’s figure comes amid growing public concerns over a resurgence of the virus in Tokyo, which on Friday logged yet another single-day record of 293 cases. The latest single-day tally brought the capital’s cumulative total to 9,223.
Alarmed by what many say is an imminent second wave, Tokyo raised its alert to the highest level on Wednesday, declaring that infections are now “believed to be spreading.”
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike says the surge stems largely from increased testing capacity, which now stands at over 4,000 tests a day.
On Friday, Koike said about 70 percent of the cases confirmed can be traced back to those in their 20s and 30s, a trend that has become characteristic of the recent spike.
But at the same time, she cited “intergenerational transmissions” of the virus as another emerging concern, pointing to an increase in cases among those in their 40s and 50s. The spread of the pathogen across age groups, she added, suggests the routes of infection are diverging, such as through families, parties and trips to restaurants.
The growing caseload has taken a toll on the central government's much-touted subsidy drive to promote domestic tourism, leading to Tokyo's exclusion. The Go To Travel campaign offers to fund travel within Japan through a mix of discounts and coupons that would essentially cover half of one's daily expenses, including transportation and accommodation.
But the effectiveness of what was meant to be a much-needed boost to tourism has now been thrown into doubt, with trips to and from Tokyo — one of the most popular destinations in Japan — disqualified, reportedly spurring a rush of cancellations.
But the surge in infections has not been limited only to Tokyo. Neighboring Kanagawa reported 49 cases on Saturday and Chiba 32. Including Saitama, the four prefectures have all seen a similar trend in recent days, recording the highest single-day tally since the state of emergency was lifted on May 25.
Beyond the Kanto region, Osaka Prefecture reported 86 infections on Saturday, its highest daily count since the state of emergency ended.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
Your news needs your support
Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.