[Update, November 19] Tokyo reported a new daily record today with 534 new coronavirus cases. The metropolitan government has raised the virus alert to its highest level to signal that infections are spreading fast and wide. Read more here.
[November 18] Despite promising developments on the vaccine front, the world seems to be bracing for a new wave of Covid-19 infections. Japan is no different, albeit at a smaller scale compared to other developed countries around the world.
Tokyo and Hokkaido started seeing a surge in coronavirus cases last week. Hokkaido reported a record high of 236 new infections on Thursday November 12 and a daily tally of over 200 new cases through to Sunday. The Hokkaido prefectural government has since issued several new measures to help curb the spread.
Tokyo, on the other hand, reported daily numbers exceeding 200 for six consecutive days since Tuesday November 10. Yesterday, there were 298 cases; today, Wednesday November 18, the capital hit a new record of 493 new infections, surpassing the previous high of 472 (August 1).
So what happens now?
A few speculations. The Japan Times reported earlier today, citing Nikkei news, that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is looking to raise the capital’s coronavirus alert to its highest level as a warning that the virus is spreading.
While the authorities have yet to confirm any of this, the last time Tokyo raised the alert to the highest level was on July 15, when it reported 165 new cases. Following that, the metropolitan government urged restaurants and bars to close early at 10pm to contain the virus. According to The Japan Times report, the metropolitan government is expected to make a decision on raising the alert level sometime tomorrow.
We will keep you updated as any new government measures are announced.
Keep up to date with the coronavirus situation in Tokyo and Japan here.