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Coronavirus

No new curbs in Tokyo yet but governor warns of virus spread

City is now under alert for rising infections, says Koike, after recording 107 cases

Tokyo can cope with rising coronavirus infections for now, after hotels were converted to accommodate patients.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- Tokyo is on alert for rising coronavirus infections, Gov. Yuriko Koike said on Thursday, after the city recorded 107 new cases but she stopped short of re-imposing business restrictions.

Tokyo said daily new cases exceeded 100 for the first time since May. In an emergency press conference, Koike said health experts were worried that infections might rise further. "Please share the understanding that this is where we are now and adapt your everyday behavior accordingly," she said.

Many of the new cases spread from red-light districts in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. Instead of shutting down those businesses, Koike asked Tokyo residents to refrain from visiting night spots. She said that businesses that follow guidelines and take through preventative measures are exceptions. She asked businesses to follow guidelines to help curb the spread.

On June 11, the government said Tokyo was no longer under coronavirus alert as the weekly average number of new cases had fallen below 20. But authorities had since set up new criteria to assess risks.

The new risk assessment system will take into account the spread of the virus as well as the state of medical resources. Koike said that having taken measures such as converting some hotel rooms to accommodate those ill with COVID-19, Tokyo is, for now, sufficiently prepared for the spike.

However, Koike warned that if the virus spreads among the elderly, who are more prone to developing severe symptoms, hospitals could once again come under pressure. She said: "We cannot deny the possibility that the spread of the virus will accelerate if more elderly people become infected."

In the week to Wednesday, 70% of those who tested positive were in their 20s and 30s, who tended to suffer less with the disease.

Koike said the government will not announce another state of emergency yet. She also said that with an increase in testing, the city can expect to see more positive cases.

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