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Tokyo Sets Record for New Daily COVID-19 Cases

Passengers wearing protective face masks pass through the automated entranceway at a station amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, July 23, 2020.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the city confirmed a new single-day high of 366 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, surpassing 300 for the first time as Japan begins a four-day weekend. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.

At a news briefing, Koike said the city conducted a record 4,926 tests this week, which she said accounts for some of the increase.

There are also indications the infections are spreading. The recent surge in cases was thought to be almost exclusively among young people going to nightlife areas in the city. Experts at a Tokyo task force meeting on Wednesday said infections have also spread to older people and regular homes, workplaces and restaurants.

Tokyo’s new record comes after Japan saw a single-day record of 795 new coronavirus infections nationwide Wednesday, exceeding the previous high set in April. The previous record in Tokyo alone was 293 last Friday.

Daily cases in the city had fallen to just several in late May, promoting the government to end a national state of emergency; but, daily cases began rising again last month.

Tokyo now has a total of 10,420 confirmed cases, including 327 deaths.

Koike asked residents to stay home as much as possible during the long weekend, even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has gone ahead with a campaign promoting tourism to help the economy. The campaign excludes Tokyo for now.

Tokyo hospitals are also on the brink of running out of space. The city, which earlier allocated 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients, has asked hospitals to secure up to 2,800 beds, but preparations are taking time and beds are filling up quickly. Koike said the city is also in the process of securing hotel rooms for less sick patients.