Tokyo’s virus outbreak could ‘explode’ at any time: Governor

TOKYO: Tokyo's outbreak is severe and could explode in the coming days just as Japan begins its New Year's holiday period, in which millions of people usually move around the country, the city's governor said yesterday.

The capital recorded 944 cases yesterday, just under the record 949 on Saturday, and experts warned that unless the outbreak is checked the city could soon see over 1,000 new patients a day.

"Please emphasise life over fun," Governor Yuriko Koike said, calling on people to stay at home over the holiday.

Tokyo is at a critical juncture, with cold winter weather forecast and highly contagious variant strains of the coronavirus from Britain and South Africa already detected in Japan, Ms Koike said.

"The situation is extremely severe, we are facing up to a huge wave of virus cases we have not seen before... The number of cases could explode at any time..."

About 3,400 people have died in Japan from the coronavirus, out of about 227,390 cases. - REUTERS