Tokyo braced for a rise in the number of virus infections Thursday, while the minister in charge of the pandemic response said there was no need to declare an emergency.
Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who leads the nation’s coronavirus response, said that virus cases in Tokyo may rise Thursday and Friday, and that measures will be taken in risky areas. Governor Yuriko Koike meanwhile warned that figure may be very high, as the capital steps up testing, with much of it being focused around night-time businesses such as host and hostess bars. Tokyo is set to have a meeting of its monitoring panel Thursday.
The central government has at times clashed with local leaders over virus policy. Tokyo’s Koike last weekend called for residents of the capital to avoid traveling to other parts of the country, while cabinet ministers have repeatedly said no such restraint is necessary.
Officials have argued that the recent spike in cases is different from back in April, as the bulk of the infections are from those in their 20s and 30s who are less likely to fall severely ill. The health care system is not under strain, and more infection cases can be traced, they’ve said.
Tokyo confirmed 75 virus cases Wednesday, the first time in a week they came in below 100, only to see infections in neighbouring Saitama prefecture jump to 48. Nishimura is set to meet with the governor of Saitama later in the day.