• STAFF REPORT, KYODO

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported a record 472 coronavirus cases on Saturday, marking a fresh high for a third consecutive day as concerns grow nationwide over the rapid climb in infections.

Saturday’s data brought the capital’s total to 13,163 cases.

Nationwide, the daily tally topped 1,000 for the fourth day in a row, with a record 1,578 cases logged a day earlier. Japan’s cumulative total now stands at over 38,000 cases and at least 1,026 deaths.

The spread of the virus continued to accelerate across the country on Saturday.

・ Tokyo’s neighbors Chiba and Saitama reported 73 and 74 cases, respectively, setting new records. Adjacent Kanagawa reported 58 infections.

・Nara, Nagasaki and Wakayama prefectures reported record highs with 19, 15 and 13 cases, respectively.

・Osaka Prefecture reported 195 cases and Aichi reported 181, while Hyogo logged 32 cases and Hokkaido 18.

Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura said Saturday that the prefecture would request some restaurants and bars in Nagoya’s entertainment districts to suspend operations or shorten business hours from next Wednesday through Aug. 24, and that it would pay ¥10,000 per day to businesses that cooperate.

Okinawa reported 58 cases the same day, as well as eight confirmed cases at U.S. bases in the prefecture. The report came a day after Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki declared a state of emergency for the pandemic. Tokyo is also considering issuing its own. But the central government continues to repeat its stance that the nationwide state of emergency does not need to be reimposed.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday that more types of businesses may be asked to shorten their operating hours.

The metropolitan government on Thursday again asked karaoke parlors and establishments serving alcohol to start closing early from Monday until the end of the month to curb the virus.

The Osaka Prefectural Government on Friday decided to ask establishments serving alcohol in Osaka’s Minami entertainment district to shorten their operating hours or temporarily close from Wednesday through Aug. 20.

Businesses without virus-prevention measures will be asked to close, but those that take sufficient measures only will be asked to shorten their hours, Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said. The prefectural government and the Osaka Municipal Government will jointly provide ¥20,000 per day to each business that observes the measures.

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