Osaka confirmed on Tuesday a single-day record of 719 cases of the coronavirus, even as the prefecture has toughened measures in an attempt to stem a sharp rebound in infections.
While daily infection figures for the core region of Japan's second largest metropolitan area have been the highest in the country in recent days, health minister Norihisa Tamura warned that the situation in Tokyo is also worsening and urged residents, business operators and health care workers to remain vigilant.
Tokyo on the same day confirmed 399 new cases, bringing its cumulative total to 123,350, the highest among the nation's 47 prefectures.
With the number of infections in Tokyo trending upward since mid-March, the seven-day rolling average rose to 396.9 per day, up about 10 percent from the previous week, according to the metropolitan government.
Although the rise in daily infections in Tokyo is not as sharp as in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures designated recently as being on the brink of a state of emergency, Tamura said at a press conference the situation in the capital warrants "extreme caution."
He warned that a surge in the Tokyo metropolitan area could affect the whole country.
Under the designation, which became possible after a revised law took effect in February, authorities can implement tougher COVID-19 measures in targeted cities and towns, rather than doing so on a prefectural basis.
The government can declare a state of emergency when the situation reaches Stage 4, the highest level on its four-point scale. The threshold for quasi-emergency measures, on the other hand, is Stage 2.
Under the quasi-emergency measures started in the three prefectures on Monday, restaurants and bars in six major cities are asked to close by 8 p.m. and could be fined up to 200,000 yen for noncompliance.© KYODO