Tokyo, Dec 10 (efe-epa).- Japan hit a record daily number of new coronavirus infections on Thursday as the country struggles to contain the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health officials reported 2,820 new cases nationwide, breaking the record for the second day in row after the 2,810 infections registered on Wednesday.
Tokyo also broke its own record of 584 set on Saturday with 602 new infections in the capital in the past 24 hours.
“The number of newly infected people in Tokyo was 602, surpassing 600 for the first time, a record level,” Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said. “The government is responding with the greatest sense of crisis,” he added.
The figures being reported in this third wave in Tokyo are significantly higher than the first two: at the worst point of the first Covid wave, the capital reported 206 infections (April 17), while the second wave reached 472 cases (August 1).
In the data released on Thursday by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the highest number of infections in recent hours is affecting the age groups between 20 and 30 years (135 cases) and between 30 and 40 years (137).
Some 170,000 people have been infected in Japan, with 2,500 deaths, since the first case was discovered on January 16, a Chinese citizen living in Japan who had been in Wuhan, China, where the virus first emerged.
Following the first wave of Covid-19, the then prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, declared a state of health emergency from April 7 to May 25, which involved the closure of non-essential businesses and the prohibition of mass events, among other measures, although not the confinement of the population.
However, his successor, Yoshihide Suga, has so far resisted applying a state of alert, despite the growing caseloads, because there is no danger of hospitals becoming overwhelmed like there was months ago.
At a press conference after the contagion data was revealed in Tokyo on Thursday, the minister in charge of the official response to Covid-19, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said that the authorities are reacting “with a great sense of caution”.
He said that the situation will be reviewed next week to see if further measures are needed, based on the analysis of the experts’ opinions.
Tokyo authorities recently approved their own measures, such as closing restaurants at 10 pm, a restriction that will be in effect until December 17 with the option of being extended. EFE-EPA