Roundup: Japan's new COVID-19 cases rise to new record for 3rd straight day

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TOKYO, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Japan confirmed 1,557 new coronavirus infections on Friday, marking the third straight day of record high new daily cases, as concerns continue to mount about the virus' resurgence in urban areas in the country.

The nationwide cumulative total now stands at 36,366 COVID-19 cases, not including those connected to a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo in February.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko confirmed 463 new coronavirus infections in the capital on Friday, with the figure marking a new record daily increase, eclipsing the previous single-day record of 367 on Thursday.

The cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in the capital now stands at 12,691, more than 50 percent of which were confirmed this month, as fears rise about the aggressive pace of the virus' continued spread in the city of 14 million.

With the latest daily figure marking the first time cases have topped the 400-mark in Tokyo, Koike said if the situation continues to worsen, the Tokyo metropolitan government will have to consider declaring a state of emergency in the capital so that more robust measures can be taken to tackle the spread of the virus.

Koike also said that this summer would be like no other and Tokyo residents who may be planning summer vacations need to stay on their guard, adding that if new restrictions are introduced, they could include urging people to avoid crossing prefectural lines and encouraging people to refrain from going outdoors.

On Thursday, the metropolitan government requested that bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors close earlier from Aug. 3 to the end of the month to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The Osaka prefectural government has also voiced concern about the rising cases in the western prefecture and will take similar preventative measures with bars, clubs and restaurants serving alcohol.

Osaka confirmed 216 new cases on Friday, bringing its cumulative total to 4,057 COVID-19 cases.

Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said establishments serving alcohol in Osaka's Minami entertainment district will be asked to temporarily shut or shorten their operating hours from Wednesday through Aug. 20.

Yoshimura also said that businesses not taking antiviral measures will be asked to close, while those complying with the prefectural government's request will be given 20,000 yen per day (191 U.S. dollars) to compensate for the loss of hours.

"We should focus our measures on the area where the virus is spreading the most. We will provide as much compensation as possible," Yoshimura said.

Other hard-hit areas include Kanagawa Prefecture which reported 52 new cases to total 2,484, Saitama Prefecture where 57 new cases were detected to total 2,310 and Fukuoka Prefecture which reported 170 new cases, bringing its cumulative total to 1,926 on Friday.

The national death toll from the virus currently stands at 1,023 people according to the latest figures Friday evening. Enditem

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