Panel Warns of Rebound in Tokyo-Area Coronavirus Cases

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, June 23 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese health ministry advisory board warned Wednesday that new cases of novel coronavirus infection in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures have stopped falling and could start rising again.

Voicing concern over the coronavirus variant first identified in India, which is believed to highly infectious, the panel of health experts stressed that it remains important to reduce flows of people and person-to-person contacts.

According to estimates submitted to the advisory board by experts including Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura, the mutated strain is 90 pct more contagious than the original virus, and the variant will continue spreading and account for 68.9 pct of novel coronavirus infection cases across the country by July 23, when the Tokyo Olympics is slated to start.

An estimate from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases showed that the new strain will be responsible for around 50 pct of cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area in early July.

In Tokyo, 619 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Wednesday, with the daily count topping 600 for the first time since May 28.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press