Japan Daily Virus Tally Passes 1,000 as Osaka, Tokyo Cases Surge

Japan found a record 1,002 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, broadcaster NHK reported, with surging infections in Osaka bringing the western prefecture close to surpassing Tokyo as the nation’s biggest hot spot.

The day’s tally brings the total number of cases in Japan above 33,000, as the nation grapples with a new surge of infections two months after a state of emergency was lifted.

Osaka found a record of at least 220 new infections, NHK reported, citing unidentified officials. The country’s third-largest prefecture by population is seeing cases escalate rapidly after reporting almost zero cases for nearly a month. Meanwhile, Tokyo found 250 infections, according to Economy Minister and key virus pointman Yasutoshi Nishimura, marking 21 days in a row where infections have been in triple digits.

The severity of the coronavirus situation in Japan still pales in comparison to other parts of the world including the U.S. Concern is growing, though, as outbreaks emerge in regions beyond the capital and more clusters are found in places beyond nighttime establishments that were earlier blamed for spreading the virus.

Officials, after relaxing their measures to reopen the economy, are once again beginning to firm up, though they are so far rejecting a return to a state of emergency.

Nishimura called on companies to have 70% of their employees work from home, shift work hours to avoid peak commuting periods and refrain from large gatherings for meals. He also warned Japan may name shops where coronavirus outbreaks occur after not cooperating with preventive guidelines.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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