• staff report, KYODO, JIJI


Japan on Wednesday reported a single-day record of 795 new coronavirus infections, exceeding the previous high set in April, as it grappled with the looming threat of a second wave of the deadly virus.

The figure took the nationwide tally to over 27,800, including some 700 from the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama in February.
Since the nationwide state of emergency was entirely lifted in late May, there has been a surge in the number of new infections, particularly in Tokyo’s nightlife district, as well as other urban areas across Japan.

Osaka, Fukuoka and Aichi prefectures on Wednesday all set new single-day records for new COVID-19 cases, local media reported.

Osaka Prefecture confirmed 121 cases — the first time for any prefecture outside of Tokyo to report more than 100 cases — while Fukuoka saw 61 cases and Aichi recorded 64 cases. Both Fukuoka and Aichi set new records for the second straight day.

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura told a news conference that those who had tested positive “were mainly young people, many of them without symptoms or with mild symptoms,” adding that the infections had been “spreading from there.”

Across the nation, several other prefectures reported fresh highs:

  • Saitama Prefecture reported a record 62 cases.
  • Kanagawa Prefecture saw 68 cases, the second most since April 11.
  • Chiba Prefecture reported 40 cases, the first time it had posted that many cases since April 16
  • Hyogo Prefecture reported 30 cases, the most since April 15.

Meanwhile, in the capital, the metropolitan government reported 238 cases, topping 200 for the second day in a row, Gov. Yuriko Koike said. Wednesday’s number pushed the capital’s total cases to 10,054, according to metropolitan government data.

The announcement came as Koike asked residents of the capital not to go out for nonessential purposes during Japan’s four-day weekend from Thursday amid the rise in infections.

“The number of coronavirus patients with severe symptoms is increasing,” Koike said Tuesday. “It’s especially important for elderly people and those having pre-existing conditions to refrain from going out.”

On Sunday and Monday, the daily cases in Tokyo were below 200 — 188 and 168, respectively — but again rose to 237 on Tuesday.

Wednesday’s figure also came the same day as the central government’s kickoff the controversial Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign. After spikes in infections in Tokyo, the government announced Thursday that travel to and from the capital would no longer fall under the campaign.

The campaign has added to concerns over the deadly virus, prompting some to believe travelers to and from Tokyo and surrounding prefectures might increase the risk of spreading the disease to other regions.

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