Japan needs to be on high alert as coronavirus cases rise: Minister

Tokyo reported more than 200 cases for three straight days. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Japan needs to remain on high alert for further coronavirus outbreaks as the number of cases with unclear contagion routes increases, Mr Yasutoshi Nishimura, the country's economy minister and virus czar, said.

The nation's number of Covid-19 infections spiked in the past week, with Tokyo reporting more than 200 cases for three straight days.

The minister didn't say the government was considering declaring a state of emergency, but he warned of increased stress on public health centres' resources, when speaking on public broadcaster NHK on Sunday (July 12).

Testing should be strategically and greatly increased, he said.

Second-quarter gross domestic product figures are likely to be "severe", given the pandemic's impact on the global economy and the depressed levels of domestic consumption, Mr Nishimura said.

Local spending is showing signs of recovery, according to the minister.

Japan is forging ahead with further steps to reopen the economy amid the increase in virus cases.

Mr Nishimura said that while those who show symptoms must stay home, in principle Tokyo residents are allowed to move to other prefectures.

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