• staff report, Kyodo

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Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura said Wednesday his prefecture will declare a state of emergency on Thursday as infections in Nagoya and its vicinity surged amid an apparent second wave of the virus.

The prefecture-wide state of emergency, to last between Thursday and Aug. 24, calls on residents not to make trips across prefectural borders, while asking them to avoid nonessential and nonurgent outings, according to Omura.

The declaration is aimed at preventing further spread of the deadly virus by reducing people’s movements during summer holidays, especially the annual Obon period next week, when many people return to their family homes.

The state of emergency, however, has no binding power and remains a mere request for self-restraint by residents in making homecoming visits and unnecessary outings.

On Wednesday, Aichi confirmed 144 new cases. A record 193 infections were reported last Friday after daily counts began to rise in mid-July. Nagoya, the capital, is believed to be the epicenter of recent infections.

Meanwhile, Shigeru Omi, head of the government subcommittee on combating the novel coronavirus, advised travelers who are heading to their home for the Obon holidays to exercise caution by wearing a mask, washing hands and ventilating rooms sufficiently.

He said the subcommittee will advise the government to warn the public to avoid family gatherings that involve drinking and eating that could put senior citizens, who are most vulnerable to the virus, at higher risk of infection.

If this could prove difficult, Omi urged travelers to reconsider their plans and alternatively consider seeing their family members online instead.

Beyond Aichi, Tokyo saw the number of new coronavirus infections fall on Wednesday, with the metropolitan government confirming 263 cases.

Officials said 1,061 tests were conducted on Sunday. Typically, the metropolitan government receives and reports results three days after a test has been conducted.

Wednesday was the ninth consecutive day that Tokyo has reported more than 200 COVID-19 cases.

After the capital’s total infections surpassed 14,000 a day earlier, Wednesday’s count pushed it to 14,285, according to Tokyo Metropolitan Government data.

Elsewhere in the Kanto area on Wednesday, Kanagawa Prefecture confirmed 81 cases and Chiba Prefecture saw 50 cases, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Okinawa Prefecture, meanwhile, reported 77 new COVID-19 cases, a day after posting a single-day record 83, and Osaka Prefecture confirmed 196 infections.

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