Tokyo Area Shows Clear Signs of 5th-Wave COVID-19 Infections

Politics

Tokyo, July 21 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo and three nearby prefectures are showing clear signs of being in a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, shortly before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

On top of Tokyo, the three prefectures--Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa--reached Stage 4, the worst on Japan's four-tier coronavirus alert scale, in terms of the number of newly confirmed infection cases. But the central government appears to be running out of effective measures to tackle the crisis.

"The number of new infections has been growing in the metropolitan area. We will work hard to ask restaurant operators to cooperate in line with our requests such as shortening operating hours," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday.

At a meeting of government and ruling bloc officials, Suga reiterated his policy of promoting vaccinations while trying to curb a rebound in infections through countermeasures centering on eateries.

The rebound has accelerated notably in Tokyo, which is under a fourth coronavirus state of emergency, with newly confirmed cases standing at 1,387 on Tuesday, up 557 from a week before. According to an estimate presented at a meeting of the metropolitan government's coronavirus monitoring panel involving experts, the seven-day average of daily new cases may top 2,400 in August.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press