Tokyo’s daily COVID-19 cases drop for 2nd straight day, some businesses to close earlier

The Tokyo metropolitan government on Monday confirmed 258 new COVID-19 infections, with the number declining for a second straight day after surging to record peaks last week.

The latest figure comes on the heels of 292 cases logged in the previous day, and a record 472 new daily infections confirmed on Sunday.

Of the 258 testing positive, the metropolitan government said 120 were aged in their 20s and 30s, accounting for around 66 percent of the total.

Despite the recent decline in daily infections, Tokyo has remained the epicenter of the outbreak in Japan with cases in July alone totaling 6,466 cases, the highest figure for any month.

The metropolitan government has kept its alert level at the highest on its four-tier scale meaning that “infections are spreading.”

From Monday, the metropolitan government has requested that bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors close earlier to help prevent the spread of the virus through August.

The metropolitan government will provide each establishment abiding by the request and virus prevention measures with a subsidy of 200,000 yen (1,900 U.S. dollars), although Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has urged Tokyoites to avoid eating out and going to nighttime entertainment spots.

She said that a Tokyo-specific state of emergency declaration would be issued if the aggressive increase in COVID-19 ceases in the capital does not improve.

In addition, the Tokyo governor said that stores that have been recognized by the metropolitan government as adhering to antiviral measures will display a sticker informing customers that the establishment is taking the requisite preventative measures.

In a press briefing on the matter Monday, Koike asked for the cooperation of businesses and the public, asking the public to “use stores that have a sticker on them to prevent infection,” while calling on businesses to “spread the use of the stickers based on the regulations.”

The Osaka prefectural government has also voiced concern about rising cases in the western prefecture and will take similar preventative measures with bars, clubs and restaurants serving alcohol, particularly in Osaka’s Minami entertainment district, with some possibly being asked to close.

Japan’s cumulative total of COVID-19 cases topped 39,000 as of Sunday, including 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February.

The resurgence of the virus followed the central government fully lifting a state of emergency in late May.