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Coronavirus

Tokyo Reported 822 New COVID Cases, a New High for the Japanese Capital

December 17, 2020

TOKYO — Tokyo reported 822 new cases of the coronavirus, a new high for the Japanese capital.

Infections have been on the steady climb nationwide for several weeks. Japan on Friday reported 2,988 new cases for a total of 187,103, including 2,739 deaths.

Experts on the Tokyo task force raised caution levels for the medical systems to the highest, suggesting that most Tokyo hospitals have little extra manpower or beds to continue their ordinary treatment for other patients.

“We must stop further acceleration of the infections,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said. “In order to prevent serious cases and deaths and save the medical systems from collapsing, I ask for everyone to cooperate.”

Koike said Tokyo is extending an early closure request for drinking places, which was to end Thursday, through mid-January.

Norio Ohmagari, director of the Disease Control and Prevention Center, said that the number of daily cases could exceed 1,000 within weeks. About half of the cases are no longer traceable as infections are transmitted at homes, offices and schools, experts said.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, apparently reluctant to further damage businesses already hit by the pandemic, has been slow to take steps. After repeated calls from experts, Suga last Friday announced plans to suspend the government’s travel promotion campaign from Dec. 28 to Jan. 11 following media surveys showing a sharp decline in his approval ratings.

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