Expert Warns of COVID-19 Surge in Tokyo at Parliament

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 19 (Jiji Press)--Japanese public health expert Shigeru Omi at a meeting of the Diet, the country's parliament, has issued a strong warning against the explosive surge in novel coronavirus infections in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

At an off-session meeting of the Cabinet Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Wednesday, Masato Imai of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan called for the government's ongoing COVID-19 state of emergency to be expanded to cover the whole of the nation.

In response, Omi, who heads the government's COVID-19 task force, said: "The state of emergency is not necessarily producing effects although it has been in place in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures for a long period. We need to focus our discussions on how we should resolve the situation."

The actual number of new infection cases would be higher than reported figures since the country's coronavirus test capacity has been failing to meet growing demand for COVID-19 tests, he said.

Omi reiterated the need to reduce the flow of people in Tokyo by half from the level in the first half of July. "It is extremely important for the central and local governments to deal with the situation while keeping in mind that this is a disaster."

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Jiji Press