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Japan health minister cautions against Tokyo's increasing infections

Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Norihisa Tamura. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's health minister Norihisa Tamura said Tuesday the number of coronavirus infections in Tokyo is steadily increasing and urged residents, business operators and health care workers to remain vigilant.

    Although the rise in daily infections in the capital is not as sharp as in prefectures recently placed under quasi-emergency measures against COVID-19 including Osaka and Miyagi, the current situation warrants "extreme caution" because a sharp rebound in the Tokyo metropolitan area could affect the whole nation, Tamura told a press conference.

    Under the measures implemented in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures to stem the rise in infections, restaurants and bars in six major cities are asked to close by 8 p.m. and could be slapped with a fine of up to 200,000 yen ($1,800) for noncompliance.

    On Monday, Osaka Prefecture reported 341 new virus cases, topping Tokyo's 249.

    The number of infections in Tokyo has been trending upward since mid-March.

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