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Tokyo could raise alert after daily record 493 virus cases

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing masks getting off at a subway station in Tokyo, Japan, on May 27, 2020. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing masks getting off at a subway station in Tokyo, Japan, on May 27, 2020. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO, Nov 18 (.) – Tokyo hit a daily record of 493 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with local media reporting that the Japanese capital is preparing to raise its infection alert level to the highest of its four. phases.

As part of the measure, the metropolitan government is considering asking some businesses to reduce their opening hours again, the Nikkei financial daily said, citing multiple unidentified sources. The announcement will be made on Thursday, according to the Nikkei.

Tokyo authorities did not respond to a request for comment from ..

Tokyo had lowered the alert level to the second highest echelon on September 10, after the daily number of infections fell after the summer peak of 300-400 cases.

However, since the beginning of this month, daily infections have tended to rise, reaching 393 last week, their highest level in three months. The record to date was 472, reached on August 1.

The higher alert level indicates “infections are spreading” versus the current alert of “infections appear to be spreading”.

Still, Japan is far from the critical number of infections and deaths seen in many Western countries, with some 121,000 positive cases and 1,920 deaths reported in total so far.

The number of tests performed is also much lower, at a few thousand a day for Tokyo, a city with a population of 14 million.

According to the city’s website, 1,281 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 versus the total capacity of 2,640 beds.

(Information from Chang-Ran Kim; edited by Sandra Maler, Lincoln Feast and Michael Perry; translated by Tomás Cobos)