• JIJI, KYODO

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Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has hinted at the possibility of asking the central government to declare yet another state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor said on Sunday that she has instructed metropolitan government officials to respond to a renewed rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo with a sense of speed and with an eye to the possible request for a new emergency declaration.

“It’s indispensable that we act pre-emptively,” Koike said.

“I have instructed senior metropolitan government officials to study countermeasures with a sense of urgency, while considering (the possible option of) requesting a state of emergency,” the governor said.

Tokyo reported 405 new COVID-19 infections on Monday amid a resurgence of infections linked to new virus variants. The figure was the most for a Monday since Jan. 25 and was higher than the previous two Mondays — 306 on April 12 and 249 on April 5.

On Sunday, the metropolitan government reported 543 new coronavirus cases, topping 500 for the sixth straight day.

“It was a high figure for a Sunday and shows that we remain on an uptrend,” Koike told reporters.

Touching on the fact that the daily count of new infections in Tokyo has risen some 20% from a week earlier, Koike reiterated her concern about the spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants among young people and the increase of people going out.

If issued, it would be a third COVID-19 state of emergency for the capital, following the first one in place between April and May 2020 and the second one between January and March this year.

Earlier this month, the central government put Tokyo and five prefectures under a coronavirus quasi-emergency to better tackle the surging number of cases. Four prefectures are set to be added to the quasi-emergency list on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Osaka Prefecture’s governor said Monday that he will ask the central government to declare a state of emergency for his prefecture, as it reported 719 new cases of the deadly virus.

A day earlier, the prefecture reported 1,220 new cases, the highest level on record for the region and the sixth straight day that the tally topped the 1,000 level. Sunday also saw the nationwide tally of new cases surpass 4,000 for a fifth consecutive day.

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