Fri, 07 Aug 2020

People wearing face masks walk at Shinjuku station, in Tokyo, Japan, on July 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)

Tokyo's downtown entertainment districts in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro have become hotbeds for the virus' latest resurgence. Of the 243 people testing positive on Friday, 126 were aged in their 20s and 60 in their 30s.

TOKYO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The number of new COVID-19 infections in Tokyo hit a new daily record of 243 cases on Friday marking the second straight day cases have topped 200, with those connected to nighttime entertainment spots in the capital continuing to chart an increase amid rising concerns for the healthcare system.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Friday expressed concern over the recent increase in cases, saying that medical workers are struggling to identify routes of infection in some cases, while urging more caution be taken in nightspots in the capital.

She called on residents and business owners to carry out preventative measures to curb the further spread of the virus.

"Operators of nightlife entertainment establishments which found their employees infected are cooperating. Some are holding group tests. But we are urging people to exercise greater caution due to the situation," Koike said.

People enjoy their time at a restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, on May 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)

Downtown entertainment districts in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro have become hotbeds for the virus' latest resurgence, the metropolitan government has indicated.

It has warned those patronizing such nightspots in these districts to ensure the establishments are taking necessary measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The latest numbers show that among those newly found to be infected, 110 are employees and customers of nighttime entertainment establishments, with 93 cases detected in Shinjuku district alone, the metropolitan government said Friday.

The capital has continued to grapple with a resurgence of cases since the government's emergency declaration over the virus was completely lifted on May 25.

The capital of 14 million people has also seen disproportionately high numbers of those testing positive for the pneumonia-causing virus being younger people in their 20s and 30s.

According to the latest figures Friday, of the 243 people testing positive, 126 were aged in their 20s and 60 people were aged in their 30s, comprising around 80 percent of the total.

People wearing face masks walk on the street in Tokyo, Japan, July 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)

The metropolitan government also said that 142 newly infected people are close contacts of people who have already been infected, while 101 cases have no known infection route.

In addition, while none of those testing positive among the new cases were seriously ill, 48 of those testing positive were asymptomatic.

Experts at a task-force meeting on Friday gave their analysis of the situation as well as the situation of health care facilities' occupancy and availability.

In regard to the latest surge in cases, they said that it is evident that COVID-19 cases are beginning to widen in the capital and as such the severity of the situation currently ranks the second highest on its scale of four.

On Friday, the metropolitan government said that people who felt sick or have a fever should refrain from leaving the city, while previously urging people to refrain from crossing prefectural lines.

The government's plan, however, to ease restrictions and allow up to 5,000 people to attend events, including professional sports, came into effect Friday.

A taxi driver works with a face mask on in Tokyo, Japan, on July 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)

The move came despite the latest surge in COVID-19 cases and amid concerns voiced by lawmakers, medical professionals as well as members of the public who have called for some social and business restrictions to be reinstated amid fears of a second wave of infections hitting the country.

Tokyo has now confirmed a cumulative total of 7,515 COVID-19 cases, the metropolitan government said, the highest among Japan's 47 prefectures and accounting for roughly one-third of the country's total cases.

Meanwhile, nationwide cases increased by 430, including 44 and 32 new infections in Tokyo's neighboring prefectures of Saitama and Kanagawa respectively, official figures showed Friday evening.

Japan's cumulative total of COVID-19 infections now stands at 21,198 cases, not including those connected to a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo earlier in the year.

According to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities Friday evening, the nationwide death toll from the virus now totals 995.■

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