Japan to keep limits on mass events over COVID-19 spike

Tokyo, Nov 12 (EFE).- Japan decided Thursday to maintain restrictions applied to massive sporting or cultural events until February due to the recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Tokyo and the country’s other regions.

“The rebound has increased concern about the possibility of an explosive increase in infections,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s economic revitalization minister and head of the panel to curb the pandemic, during a Thursday meeting.

Japan registered 1,546 new infections Wednesday evening and the number has gone past 1,000 daily infections five times, after staying below that barrier since the end of August.

Tokyo registered 393 cases Thursday, the highest number in more than three months, which added to the figures of previous days places the capital as one of the areas most affected by the rebound along with Osaka and Hokkaido prefectures.

The minister said the increasing rate of infections could be due to lower temperatures and the fact that citizens are more exposed to infections in closed spaces, during his intervention in the meeting collected by local media.

Japan will continue limiting spectators to large-scale events such as soccer and baseball games or concerts in 50 percent of the total capacity of the venues, a limit that was going to be relaxed at the end of the month but will remain until at least February.

“If the situation continues to deteriorate, we will have to take tougher control measures,” Nishimura said.

He added that contagion prevention protocols will be applied for other situations attracting crowds, such as the traditional visits to Shinto temples for the New Year.

Japan has registered 112,168 COVID-19 infections and 1,863 deaths to date, including the more than 700 infections that occurred on a cruise ship that was put into isolation in February in a Japanese port. EFE


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