And they’re through: The Upper House passed legislation Wednesday that will introduce fines for people and businesses that do not comply with restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Japan’s death toll from COVID-19 climbed another 119 from Tuesday to 6,084, exceeding the 6,000 mark only 11 days after it topped 5,000. The daily increase matched the country’s record high logged a day earlier. Tokyo saw a new high of 32 daily deaths, while Kanagawa logged a record 19.
Health experts said Tuesday that Japan needs to link up private COVID-19 testing with public databases to get a firmer grip on the extent of the pandemic. Japan has not adopted the widespread testing efforts seen in many other countries, and PCR tests at private clinics have surged as residents have sought alternative means of checking their status.
Responding to vaccine czar Taro Kono’s comment that export controls imposed by the EU could delay inoculations in Japan, the head of Pfizer partner firm BioNTech vowed Tuesday that the country will receive all the COVID-19 vaccines it has purchased this year from the two companies.
The closest Japan has come to beginning vaccinations was a dry run held last week in a gym in Kawasaki involving around 60 people. The drill went well, although pre-consultations dragged on longer than expected, an issue that could slow down the real-life rollout in notoriously vaccine-skeptic Japan.
Wednesday’s (and last Wednesday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (50 or over): Tokyo 676 (973), Saitama 257 (247), Osaka 244 (357), Kanagawa 234 (386), Chiba 218 (258), Hyogo 120 (211), Fukuoka 119 (185), Aichi 114 (227), Hokkaido 94 (147), Okinawa 60 (131), Gifu 51 (62). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker