Japan PM reiterates call to action as Covid-19 cases hit record high

Topics Japan | Coronavirus | Yoshihide Suga

Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attends an extraordinary session at the upper house of parliament. Photo: AP/PTI

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated his call to take strict action against the raging Covid-19 pandemic, as new cases across the country have hit a record high.

Addressing the media on Friday, Suga confirmed that cases had been surging in Hokkaido, Tokyo, Osaka and Aichi prefectures, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said that having been briefed on the situation by Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is also in charge of Japan's coronavirus response, and Health Minister Norihisa Tamura, he had instructed officials to make all-out efforts to tackle the spread of the virus while working with local governments.

As to the government subsidized "Go To Travel" campaign, launched to encourage increased domestic travel to help the ailing tourism industry, he said based on experts' views it needn't be reviewed at this juncture.

Suga made the same point regarding declaring a new state of emergency.

He went on to urge people to maintain basic antiviral measures and avoid high-risk situations such as eating out in groups and holding conversations without wearing face masks.

On Friday, Japan reported 1,693 new Covid-19 cases, marking a fresh record high following the previous day's tally.

The latest rise in cases brings the nation's cumulative total to 115,516, not including those connected to a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo earlier in the year.

Health ministry officials said that 231 people testing positive for the virus have been designated as being in a "severe condition" and are being treated with breathing apparatus in medical facilities.

Tokyo, the hardest hit among Japan's 47 prefectures, confirmed 374 new cases on Friday.

This marks the third consecutive day the daily tally in the capital of 14 million has topped the 300-mark and has brought the city's cumulative total to 34,144.

Osaka, the second hardest hit region, reported 263 new infections on Friday, bringing its total caseload to 14,870 infections.

Hokkaido, which has reported of clusters recently, registered 235 new infections, to total 5,055.

Officials have said that as the temperature drops as winter approaches, particularly in northern regions, more people are staying indoors, sometimes in poorly ventilated rooms, which has helped the virus to spread.

Tokyo's neighbouring prefecture of Kanagawa, for its part, saw cases rise by 146 on Friday to 9,893 infections, according to the latest data Friday evening.

Infections in Kanagawa remain the third highest in Japan.

Confirmed deaths in the country have now reached a total of 1,895.



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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