Japan braces itself for new wave of Covid-19 infections

TOKYO – Japan’s daily Covid-19 tally is on the rise, with at least 1,328 new cases on Saturday (Nov 7), the third straight day of a national caseload above 1,000.

Such figures have been unseen since August, and raise concerns of a third wave of infections amid the onset of cooler temperatures.

More than 100 new clusters were discovered over the past week.

“We have to watch the situation with a stronger sense of caution than before,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.

Top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato added that the government was “sparing no effort” to curb the outbreak, though a suspension of the multi-billion dollar Go To Travel campaign to resuscitate the ailing hospitality industry does not appear to be on the cards.

While Japan has avoided the explosive growth in cases elsewhere, it has been one of the hardest-hit in East Asia. It has also, comparatively, been one of the more laissez-faire in its response.

South Korea, which on Saturday enacted new five-tier social distancing guidelines, had 89 cases on Saturday, bringing its total to 27,284.

China, where the coronavirus was first detected, reported no local transmissions on the mainland on Friday, with all 33 new cases imported. The tally stands at 86,184.

Outpacing both countries is Japan, with 107,554 cases as of Saturday night. Tokyo, which accounts for nearly one in three cases, reported 294 new cases on Saturday, with several traced to Halloween parties.

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Hokkaido and Kanagawa both posted new daily highs, with 187 and 137 cases respectively.

Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki has requested food-and-beverage outlets in the Susukino nightlife district in Sapporo to shorten business hours.

Elsewhere, Osaka had 191 cases and Aichi, where the city of Nagoya is located, had 113 cases.

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