Tokyo declares coronavirus red alert

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Tokyo raised its coronavirus alert to the highest “red” level, alarmed by a recent spike in daily new cases to record highs, with Governor Yuriko Koike describing the situation in the Japanese capital as “rather severe”.

The resurgence of the virus in Tokyo could add to the growing pressure on policymakers to shore up the world’s No.3 economy, which analysts say is set to shrink at its fastest pace in decades this fiscal year due to the pandemic.

“We are in a situation where we should issue warnings to citizens and businesses,” Koike told a press conference, urging residents to refrain from unnecessary travel.

The infection rate in Tokyo is at stage “red”, the highest of four levels in the metropolis’ system, Koike said, citing the analysis by health experts who cautioned earlier in the day that infections were going up quite a bit and “exceeding peaks”.

She also pledged to step up testing for the virus by utilising equipment at universities.

“My understanding is that we’re in a rather severe situation now,” Koike said.