TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo on Wednesday raised its coronovirus alert to the highest “red” level, alarming by a recent spike in daily new cases to record highs, with Governor Yuriko Koike describing the situation in the Japanese capital “Rather severe”.
Analysts say the resurgence of the virus in Tokyo could spark growing pressure on policymakers to spark the world’s No. 3 economy, which analysts say is set to shrink at its fastest pace this financial year due to the epidemic .
“We are in a situation where we should issue warnings to citizens and businesses,” Koike said at a press conference, urging residents to avoid unnecessary travel.
The rate of infection in Tokyo is in the “red” phase, the highest of the four levels in the metropolitan system, citing analysis by health experts who cautioned earlier in the day that the infection was growing significantly and “Was over” “.
He also promised to test for viruses using equipment at universities.
“My understanding is that we are in a critical situation now,” Koike said.
Health experts said infections of young people and asymptomatic cases are on the rise in Tokyo.
Fearing a second wave of infection spreading from the capital, local municipalities, opposition MPs and social media users, the central government has asked to suspend a major “go to” travel assistance campaign aimed at promoting domestic tourism.
Leaders in some rural cities say that driven by the campaign, traveling in and out of high-risk areas such as Tokyo can lead to widespread community transition.
There were reports in Tokyo’s local media that parents and relatives living in rural cities were asked to stay away, with fewer reported cases of coronovirus.
The epidemic in Japan will turn into a “man-made” disaster should the itinerary proceed, Somoiro Miyashita, the mayor of Mutsu City in Oteri Prefecture, warned.
But Japan’s Minister of Economy, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said the government would carefully pursue the campaign, including shopping and food discounts.
Nishimura, who led the government’s coronovirus policy, told Parliament, “Obviously we will consider the views of many of our people while monitoring the situation ahead.”
The program has also come under fire over costs as one of the government’s top initiatives to encourage economic activity and kick start this month as it assigns back office work to a private contractor.
Koike urged the government to reconsider the time for the campaign at the press conference.
Broadcaster NHK reported that infections have been on the rise in other parts of Japan in Osaka Prefecture since April 20, with 61 new cases reported in the West.
In Tokyo, daily virus cases exceeded 200 in four of the past seven days, touching last Friday’s 243 record as testing among nightclub activists in its red-light districts in their 20s and 30s Showed increased infection in people.
Koike reiterated that people should avoid restaurants that lack infection-control measures.
Health experts said Tokyo hospitals were crowded as the number of patients doubled since last week.
The latest cluster in Tokyo locates a theater in Shinjuku with at least 37 cases, a busy recreation area and one of the largest red-light districts in Asia that has recently been the center of a spike in transition is.
Reporting by Chang-ran Kim and Joo-min Park; Editing by Richard Pullin and Himani Sarkar