Osaka Prefecture reported 432 COVID-19 cases Tuesday, topping the 400 mark for the first time since Jan. 24 and surpassing the number of infections in Tokyo the same day, where 364 new cases were logged.
The capital’s government has requested that restaurants in Tokyo close early to curb the coronavirus, but that didn’t stop 23 officials from the health ministry partying until late in the Ginza district last Wednesday. Health minister Norihisa Tamura apologized Tuesday, saying the farewell party had “betrayed the people’s trust.”
Results of antibody tests taken in December, meanwhile, indicate that many people in Japan have been infected without reporting symptoms. The antibody rate in four surveyed prefectures was up to four times higher than the infection rate, although herd immunity is still a very long way off.
As Japan struggles to procure COVID-19 vaccines on time from foreign manufacturers, the government has backpedaled on its plan to let people choose which vaccine to get, with its vaccinations chief saying nothing has been decided yet after all. A senior Cabinet Office official’s claim to the contrary Sunday on national TV was “totally misleading,” said Taro Kono.
On Friday, the health ministry said a total of 47 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction, have been reported after 580,000 shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were given to health workers, but a ministry panel has concluded there are no serious safety concerns with the jab.
Tuesday’s (and last Tuesday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (50 or over): Osaka 432 (183), Tokyo 364 (337), Hyogo 176 (84), Miyagi 121 (121), Saitama 107 (136), Kanagawa 96 (72), Okinawa 87 (75), Chiba 81 (74), Aichi 56 (63), Hokkaido 56 (42). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker