• staff report, kyodo


Tokyo confirmed 360 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Thursday, its 10th consecutive day reporting over 200, the metropolitan government said, while Osaka, Kanagawa and Chiba reported record-high numbers.

Thursday’s figure, which brings the city’s total infections to 14,645, again rose beyond the 300 line. Tokyo’s daily count had dropped to 263 on Wednesday.

The records outside the capital came as prefectures nationwide brace for the start of the annual Bon holiday period next week, when many people living in urban areas return to their family homes across the nation. Osaka reported 225 cases, exceeding the previous record high of 221 cases on July 29, while Kanagawa logged 110 cases, exceeding the previous record of 89 on Tuesday.

In Chiba Prefecture, health authorities confirmed 76 new infections, a new record for the prefecture.

Okinawa Prefecture reported 73 new cases, bringing its cumulative total to 787. Okinawa’s daily count hit a record 83 on Tuesday.

Still, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday reiterated that there is no immediate need to declare another state of emergency despite a recent resurgence in novel coronavirus infections.

In Aichi, Gov. Hideaki Omura declared a state of emergency for his prefecture on Thursday as infections in Nagoya and its vicinity surge in recent weeks.

The prefecture-wide state of emergency will continue through Aug. 24. It calls on residents not to make trips across prefectural borders, while asking them to avoid nonessential and nonurgent outings.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has stopped short of making any emergency declarations but is requesting that karaoke parlors and establishments serving alcohol close by 10 p.m. through the end of August to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Gov. Yuriko Koike asked the capital’s 13.9 million residents Thursday to refrain from traveling to their hometowns outside the city during the Bon holiday.

“In the past, the o-Bon summer holiday was a time for vacation and time with family,” Koike said. “This year, I ask that residents refrain from traveling to their hometowns, and reconnect with relatives over the phone or other virtual means so that we can protect ourselves and the people we hold dear.”

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