Japanese capital sees more than 100 more coronavirus cases

Passersby wearing protective face masks walk past candidate posters, including current governor Yuriko Koike, for the upcoming Tokyo governor election during the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo confirmed more than 100 more novel coronavirus infections on Thursday, public broadcaster NHK said, the highest daily tally in two months in the city at the centre of Japan’s outbreak.

The jump comes after the city of 14 million sought to hold new daily cases at fewer than 20 since the government lifted a state of emergency on May 25, only to see its tally consistently exceed 50 over the past week.

Tokyo’s daily count last exceeded 100 on May 2. On Wednesday, it confirmed 67 new cases.

As infections surpass the city government’s target, two weeks into its the final phase of loosening of virus curbs, officials have repeatedly said they see no need to declare a new state of emergency.

“The rise in infections is different from the rapid pace of infections seen in late March,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

“We will continue to coordinate with the city of Tokyo to strike a balance between preventing further infections and supporting economic activity.”

Officials have also said the medical system can handle existing infections and increased testing partly explains the rise in confirmed cases.

Despite more cases in Tokyo, Japan, with about 19,000 cases and 976 deaths, has reported a lower overall rate of infection than many countries.

More than 10.7 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 515,141​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.

This week, the Tokyo government said it would move away from numerical targets in favour of more reliance on expert advice to rein in the virus and avert more economic damage.

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