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Tokyo COVID cases top 30,000 for 1st time, shatter previous record

Japan's top spokesman rules out possibility of imposing movement curbs

Fear is growing among the tourism and restaurant industries that a new COVID-19 wave may harm businesses during the summer vacation season.   © Kyodo

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo reported a record 31,878 coronavirus cases on Thursday, the metropolitan government said, topping 30,000 for the first time amid the nation's seventh wave of infections, linked this time to the spread of the BA.5 omicron subvariant.

The city's previous record was 21,562, logged on Feb. 2. The metropolitan government has been reporting a daily tally of over 10,000 since July 12.

Speaking at a news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno cited a "need to watch the impact on the medical system with maximum caution," while ruling out the possibility of imposing movement restrictions.

Health minister Shigeyuki Goto said the surge in cases "could increase the number of patients with severe symptoms and affect the health care system as it may cause group infections in facilities with many high-risk people such as hospitals and nursing homes."

The record number of Tokyo infections came as Japan's nationwide tally on Wednesday climbed to a daily record of 152,536 cases, then broke that by reaching more than 160,000 on Thursday.

Of Japan's 47 prefectures, 30 reported a record number of cases on Wednesday, with Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, and Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, logging more than 10,000 cases.

In western Japan, Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura warned the prefecture's medical system is showing strain after its case count shot up to 21,976 on Wednesday from the previous high of 15,291.

Despite the surge, the government has reiterated it has no plan to impose movement restrictions.

As Japan enters the summer vacation season, fears are growing among the tourism and restaurant industries that a new wave of infections might further harm businesses already scarred by previous waves.

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