Restrictions may return in Tokyo

New confirmed coronavirus cases in Tokyo hit a record high of 224 today, exceeding the peak of 206 during the state of the emergency in April. While authorities in Australia and the US are responding to renewed outbreaks in those places with localised lockdowns, those in Japan currently seem to believe that such a step for Tokyo is unnecessary. A closer look at the virus numbers lends some support to that view. Japan’s virus containment strategy has placed much of its emphasis on aggressive contact tracing around large clusters, which has helped prevent those outbreaks from spreading into the wider community. And currently, only 40% of cases in the capital are untraceable, down from over 70% in mid-April. Similarly, over 30% of PCR tests in Tokyo were coming back positive in mid-April, which suggests that many infections went undetected. Since then testing has been ramped up significantly. The positive rate has risen in recent weeks, but only to just below 6%.
Tom Learmouth Japan Economist
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