Tokyo, Aug. 4 (Jiji Press)–Novel coronavirus infection cases in Tokyo is expanding on a record scale, surpassing the levels in the last year-end and New Year period, a health ministry advisory panel of experts said Wednesday.
The growth of infections in the Tokyo metropolitan area is likely to continue inevitably for the time being, as the decline in pedestrian traffic in the nighttime has been limited, the panel also said.
According to an estimate by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, infections with the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus, first detected in India, accounted for 89 pct of all new infection cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area as of Wednesday.
A separate analysis report from the institute shows that the delta variant is believed to have come from India and Nepal, first expanded mainly in the Tokyo area and then spread widely in Japan.
The delta variant may have arrived in Japan in mid-April, before border controls to curb arrivals from India were tightened, the report said.
The health ministry advisory panel said new infection cases are growing rapidly in many parts of Japan.
Noting that the number of severely ill COVID-19 patients is also on the increase, the panel stressed the need to consider ways to reduce contact opportunities further in order to forestall a continued steep increase in infections.
In the week through Tuesday, the number of new infection cases per population of 100,000 stood at 167.82 in Tokyo and 68.90 in Osaka Prefecture, both nearly double the preceding week’s levels.
The number more than doubled in Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, all surrounding Tokyo, as well as in the whole of Japan.