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New COVID-19 cases in Tokyo level off, reopening of economy triggers concerns about resurgence

  • October 9, 2020
  • , Nikkei , p. 39
  • JMH Translation

The downward trend in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Tokyo has bottomed out. Even after the number of new cases per day peaked in early August, there have been many days where new cases numbered in the 100–200 range. On Oct. 8, a total of 248 new cases were confirmed.

 

The average number of new daily cases for the week ending Oct. 7 was about 162, and the most common infection route was “family,” making up 30% of new cases. On Oct. 8, the infection monitoring committee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) met and decided to maintain the COVID-19 alert level at the second most serious level in the capital’s four-level scale. The second highest level is “vigilance against a resurgence of the virus is needed.”

 

In April, Tokyo was hit by its “first wave” of COVID-19, and nearly 200 new cases were confirmed day after day. After the national government issued a state of emergency and a large-scale business suspension request was made, the number of new cases in Tokyo settled for a time in the single-digit range in mid-May.

 

After the nationwide state-of-emergency was lifted in late May, the number of new cases in the capital began to increase again. From the end of July, Tokyo faced a “second wave” of new infections with daily figures numbering in the 400 range. Although the peak in the number of new cases has passed, the number remains flat and there are still few days where new cases drop below 100.

 

“The number of new cases is not decreasing because more people are out and about with the resumption of economic activities,” explains the TMG. Moreover, the testing framework, which could offer only about 1,400 tests a day at the height of the first wave, has been expanded in October to handle about 10,200 tests a day. This makes it possible to detect new cases early.

 

The number of people hospitalized in Tokyo with COVID-19 fell below 1,000 on Oct. 6 for the first time in about two and a half months, and the medical care system is improving.

 

The TMG explains, “Now, we are at the stage of balancing COVID-19 countermeasures and the economy.” With the approach of winter, there is a risk of the simultaneous spread of COVID-19 and influenza. The TMG continues to call for thorough COVID-19 measures.

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