Tokyo's new coronavirus cases on Thursday topped 500 for the first time since the pandemic began, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga saying Japan is on "maximum alert" and calling on people to do all they can to prevent infections.

The capital reported 534 cases, the second straight day that cases in Tokyo hit a daily record. The number is the result of 8,600 tests on Nov 16.

The highest number of cases were people in their 20s (130), followed by 110 in their 30s and 96 in their 40s. Among those hospitalized, 38 have developed serious symptoms, one down from Wednesday, according to the local government.

Nationwide, 2,363 new cases were reported as of 6:30 p.m.

Suga told reporters he wants people to wear face masks at restaurants as much as possible, taking them off only briefly to eat and drink, to reduce the infection risk, and to limit groups to a maximum of four people. He said the Go To Travel and Go To Eats campaigns will continue.

Suga also said he has instructed Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the government's coronavirus response, and health minister Norihisa Tamura to take additional measures to prevent the spread of the virus based on discussions at a two-day expert panel meeting through Friday.


Source: Kyodo