Tokyo will raise its corona virus alert to its highest level since the city rose to 534 new infections on Thursday.
- The spread of the virus is one of the main concerns of the authorities
- Regions across Japan record registration numbers
- Tokyo is the country’s biggest concern, and the city hopes to host the Olympics next year
As the year-end party season draws to a close, Governor Yuriko Koike has called for maximum caution.
The city’s highest alert level, on a four-tier level, indicates that “infections are spreading” compared to the previous and second highest “outbreaks”.
“The number of corona virus cases is increasing, so we are considering what measures are needed considering that infections can reach 1,000 cases a day,” Ms Koike said.
On Thursday, Japan recorded its highest daily COVID-19 cases – 2,259 new infections, according to broadcaster TBS.
But the spread of the virus in Tokyo’s metropolis is expected to host the rescheduled Olympics next year, which has caused much concern.
With the new record set across Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suka said the government expects to tighten guidelines on eating out.
But officials stopped announcing any emergency measures to control the state of emergency or the movement of people in view of the economic impact.
“I once again urge citizens to be vigilant in taking basic precautionary measures,” Mr Suka said.
“We urge people to engage in quiet, masked, eating. I will do this from today,” he said.
Ms. Koike made similar requests, outlining new recommendations for eating as the annual party season approaches.
These include meeting in small numbers, setting a time limit of about an hour, and talking quietly.
A private poll on Thursday found that nearly 90 percent of Japanese companies plan to avoid year-end parties to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which underscores the pain caused by the epidemic in an already weak economy.
Tokyo kept its alert at the second highest level for medical preparedness – a separate warning type, indicating the need to raise the capacity of the hospital, but below critical levels.