Tokyo, dec 31 (efe-epa).- The number of daily Covid-19 infections in the Tokyo region has crossed the 1,000 mark for the first time, authorities announced on Thursday even as they contemplate fresh measures to check the spread of the disease.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike told reporters that cases registered within the past 24 hours had touched a new high by jumping to four-digit figures, while the earlier highest number of daily infections had been 949, recorded on Saturday.
Local media outlets said that the number of fresh cases on Thursday could be around 1,300, ahead of the Tokyo government releasing official figures.
Since mid-November Japan has witnessed a third wave of infections with the daily caseload staying above 2,000, even as the country has reported its first cases of the new Covid variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa.
After the new strains of the virus were detected, the government has decided to increase border restrictions some of which have been in place for months, with all foreign travelers being banned from arriving in Japan from Dec. 28 onwards except permanent residents of the country returning from abroad and some other exceptions
Tokyo continues to be the worst affected region, accounting for more than 58,000 of the country’s around 231,500 coronavirus cases according to latest data. The disease has so far killed 3,448 people in the country.
The capital’s metropolitan government has declared the highest level of health emergency since Dec. 17 after a continuous rise in the number of hospitalizations, and has recommended that citizens remain at home during the New Year festivities.
On Thursday, Koike again urged Tokyo residents to avoid holding the traditional large family gatherings during the festival and also abstain from visiting Buddhist and Shinto shrines as is the norm.
The governor has also called for the declaration of a nationwide state of emergency, an exceptional measure which was implemented during the spring and resulted in the closure of non-essential commercial establishments and public facilities.
The minister in-charge of the official response to Covid-19, Yasutoshi Nishimura, also urged citizens to take extreme precautions in a social media post on Wednesday and warned that the government could resort to another state of emergency to control the infections “at any cost” if they keep rising.
After the first Covid-19 wave hit the country, the government of Japan had declared a state health emergency on Apr. 7, which continued until May 25.
The measure included restrictions on opening of businesses, restaurants, bars, and public parks, as well as suspension of public events. EFE-EPA