Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said there was no need to declare a second state of emergency after the country recorded a record number of coronavirus cases per day.
Japan reported 1,660 infections on Thursday – including 393 in Tokyo – beating the previous record set in early August. The troop increase prompted Tokyo Medical Association President Toshio Nakagawa to warn that the country had entered a “third wave” of infection.
The first large spike in cases in the spring forced the then prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to declare a state of emergency that lasted nearly seven weeks.
People were encouraged to avoid unnecessary outings and work from home, while restaurants and bars were told to close. Japan does not have the legal powers to impose the kind of strict lockdown measures seen in parts of Europe.
Shigeru Omi, chair of the Health Experts Committee that advises the government, said that if no new measures are taken, “there will be no other choice but to apply restrictions on social and economic activity,” according to Kyodo News.
But Suga said on Friday that the situation did not warrant a new emergency, adding that there were no plans to review a government-backed campaign to encourage domestic travel that some experts blamed for spreading the virus.
The government’s chief spokesperson, Katsunobu Kato, said this week that only 131 of the 31.8 million people who used the Go To travel plan between July and October contracted the virus. Additionally, not a single case has been linked to the Go To Eat campaign launched to support a struggling restaurant sector.
Japan has recorded a total of 114,512 cases of Covid-19, including 712 cases linked to the Diamond Princess ship, according to a tally by NHK public broadcaster. The death toll reached 1,882, including 13 people on board the ship.
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