Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is heading the government’s coronavirus response, on Sunday hinted that another state of emergency could be declared, depending on future infection levels, in Tokyo and other areas seeing signs of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.
“If necessary, we should not hesitate to declare a state of emergency and should be flexible about declaring it for areas that are currently placed under the quasi-emergency stage,” Nishimura said during a television program.
Tokyo and six other prefectures are currently under the quasi-emergency status, which allows prefectural governors to impose restrictions similar to but less strict than those introduced under an emergency declaration.
On the infection situation in Tokyo, Nishimura said that the rising number of cases in the capital has become noticeable and that the central government is analyzing the developments with a strong sense of vigilance in cooperation with experts and the metropolitan government.
While noting that infections among elderly people have been decreasing, Nishimura said the trend among younger age groups was the opposite.
“How to contain the spread of the virus among active people in their 20s and 30s has become an issue,” he said.
“To curb the viral spread at this moment, it’s inevitable to introduce strong measures,” he added. “We must consider steps such as asking restaurants to stop serving alcohol again.”
Tokyo confirmed 386 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a slight increase from the 376 reported a week before.
The news was a positive sign as concern grows over the recent jump in infections there and after a coronavirus state of emergency was lifted there just one week ago. Through Saturday, the capital saw three straight days of 100-plus, week-on-week rises in case numbers.
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