New Coronavirus Cases Bottom Out in Tokyo Area: Panel

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, March 17 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese health ministry panel of experts offered the view Wednesday that new coronavirus cases have stopped declining in the Tokyo metropolitan area since early this month, with the number of cases turning slightly up in the capital and Saitama Prefecture.

Ahead of the scheduled lifting of the extended state of emergency on Sunday, the advisory panel warned at a meeting that the overall number of newly confirmed infections in the four-prefecture area, also including Chiba and Kanagawa, remains high compared with other parts of the country and that coronavirus variants carry a high risk of spreading at a rapid pace.

National Institute of Infectious Diseases head Takaji Wakita, who leads the panel, told a news conference after the meeting that the metropolitan area "has a large number of cases and, therefore, a big impact on other areas."

"It's necessary to keep the new cases level as low as possible to prevent a resurgence," he said.

According to the ministry, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the week to Tuesday stood at 14.53 in Tokyo, 11.5 in Chiba, 11.48 in Saitama and 7.68 in Kanagawa.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press