Tokyo Finds Record 224 Virus Cases, Blames Increased Testing

Tokyo found a record 224 coronavirus cases on Thursday, a record for a single day, even as officials continued to assert that a state of emergency is not necessary.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said that increased testing had led to the surge, with authorities encouraging night-time businesses such as host and hostess bars to have their staff tested.

While small in comparison to some global cities, the number reported by national broadcaster NHK came as a shock after the figure had dropped below 100 on Wednesday for the first time in a week.

Tokyo markets reacted negatively to the news, with the Topix index erasing its gains. Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura had said earlier that figures on Thursday and Friday could be higher because of reporting lags from Wednesday.

Tokyo Finds Record 224 Virus Cases, Blames Increased Testing

Tokyo Asks Travel Limit as New Coronavirus Cases Rise: NHK (1)

Officials have argued that the recent spike in cases is different from back in April, as the bulk of the infections are from those in their 20s and 30s who are less likely to fall severely ill. The health-care system is not under strain, and more infection cases can be traced, they’ve said. Nishimura, who is in charge of the pandemic response, reiterated Thursday that there was no need to declare a state of emergency at this time.

However, the capital’s virus monitoring panel meeting, which was live-streamed, heard a report that infections were increasing among people in their 40s and 50s, as well as advice that the health care system should be strengthened. A city official said a new facility was being prepared to isolate mild cases.

Koike said she wants to boost the city’s testing capacity to 10,000 cases a day. Infections are being spread among members of the same household, as well as at workplaces and dinner parties, she said.

She called on people to avoid places that meet criteria dubbed the “Three C’s” -- closed spaces, crowded spaces and close-contact settings -- and urged people at parties not to drink from the same glass.

Hundreds of Cases, but No Lockdown: What’s Changed in Japan? (1)

Central and local governments have sometimes clashed over the response to the virus. Koike last weekend urged Tokyo residents to avoid traveling to other parts of the country, while cabinet ministers have repeatedly said no such restraint is necessary.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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