The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 331 new cases of COVID-19 infection Sunday, holding above the 300 mark for the fourth straight day.
The figure, which marked a drop from more than 420 cases reported in the past two days, brought the city’s total infections to 15,867. The metropolitan government has raised its alert for the pandemic to the highest of four levels, meaning “infections are spreading.”
With the summer holiday season starting Saturday, Gov. Yuriko Koike has requested that Tokyoites avoid traveling or returning to their hometowns.
Record daily infections have been reported in recent days outside the capital as prefectures nationwide braced for a possible surge during the annual Bon holiday period when many people living in urban areas return to their family homes across the nation.
Okinawa confirmed 159 new cases on Sunday, topping the previous record of 100 on Friday. Osaka logged 195 infections, while Aichi Prefecture reported 129 cases, marking a 13th straight day of over 100 cases.
Kyushu’s Fukuoka Prefecture reported 109 new infections, while Kanagawa, next to Tokyo, reported 81. Hyogo also reported 48 new cases. More than 48,500 infections have been reported in Japan, with at least 1,576 deaths so far.
No congestion was seen for bullet trains and airports again on Sunday after local governments asked residents to avoid traveling to help keep the coronavirus spread from worsening.
Some shinkansen saw only 5 percent of their nonreserved seats filled with the highest rate limited to around 70 percent, compared to well above the 100 percent usually seen during the Bon holiday period.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday pledged to make additional efforts to combat the coronavirus so that the government would not have to declare another state of emergency in the future, given the serious damage that the declaration made in April had on the world’s third-biggest economy.
“We must make efforts further so that we will not need to declare a state of emergency again,” Abe told a news conference in Nagasaki during his visit to attend a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city.
He added that he is not uniformly calling on people to refrain from returning to their hometowns during the Bon period.
Abe appeared cautious about a proposed additional revision to a special measures law in order for the country to step up its fight against the coronavirus.
The government will consider how to make a better system after the pandemic subsides, he also said.
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