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Tokyo sees rapid rise in COVID-19 infections ahead of 4th state of emergency

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike is seen attending the metropolitan government's monitoring meeting at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building on July 8, 2021. (Mainichi/Shinji Kurokawa)

TOKYO -- As Japan's capital is seeing a rapid increase in coronavirus infections ahead of the fourth state of emergency to be implemented between July 12 and Aug. 22, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike emphasized a policy to make an all-out effort to curb the spread of infections during the metropolitan government's monitoring meeting on July 8, saying, "This is a very important phase."

    The central government decided on July 8 to declare the fourth state of emergency for Tokyo, during which countermeasures against the virus, including requests for restaurants to halt serving alcohol, will be taken.

    According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the average number of daily infections in the capital between July 1 and 7 was 625.4, rising by 124% from the previous week at 502.7. People in their 20s and 30s accounted for about 50% of infections, indicating how COVID-19 is spreading among the young. Broken down by infection route, "workplace" rose to 18.4% -- 3.7 percentage points up from the previous week.

    The number of patients with serious symptoms increased to 62 from 47 in the previous week. Of the 62 people, 37% were in their 50s. There have also been reports of serious cases among those in their 20s to 40s, signifying people in working generations who have not been vaccinated are getting infected and their symptoms are becoming serious, while vaccinations among elderly people are proceeding.

    During the monitoring meeting, it was also reported that detection of the L452R virus variant -- also known as the Delta strain -- that originates in India and is said to be highly contagious, surpassed 10% in screening tests by the metropolitan government. As the N501Y variant rapidly spread after exceeding 10% during the "fourth wave" of infections this past spring, the Delta strain's future trends are alarming.

    Norio Omagari, head of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine's Disease Control and Prevention Center, pointed out: "As the increasing rate of people testing positive remains high, infections are spreading again. If the growth rate further rises due to the effects of the increasing flow of people and the virus variants, the risk that infections will spread more rapidly than the third wave will rise."

    "The infection situation in Tokyo is harsh," Gov. Koike said. "By sharing a sense of crisis with the central government, the metropolitan government will also make decisions to take viable and stronger measures."

    (Japanese original by Shinji Kurokawa, Tokyo City News Department)

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