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Tokyo's daily COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000-mark for 1st time

(Xinhua)    15:29, December 31, 2020

TOKYO, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Tokyo surpassed the 1,000-mark for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, Governor Yuriko Koike said Thursday, warning that the third wave hitting the capital is of "unprecedented size."

Tokyo metropolitan government sources reportedly said that new cases have topped 1,300, far eclipsing the previous record of 949 cases logged last Saturday, as the city continues to grapple with consistently rising infections.

The capital city's cumulative total of infections surpassed the 60,000-mark.

At an extraordinary press conference on the matter, Koike warned that Tokyo was in the grip of a third wave of infections and urged people to refrain from holding New Year and other parties, saying the situation is at a "crossroads."

Tokyo is being hit by a third wave of "unprecedented size," Koike said. "This year-end and New Year holidays we are at a crossroads as to whether we can stop the spread of infections. I want you prioritize your lives," she added.

Koike urged people to spend the holidays quietly at home and not to hold parties.

The severity of the situation in the capital has been punctuated by several new, highly transmissible strains of the virus being detected here recently.

The new virus variants, first detected in Britain and South Africa, saw the government here tighten its border restrictions and ban most entries to Japan while stopping issuing new visas.

The latest figures also come as Tokyo's medical system is becoming increasingly strained owing to rising infections and experts have warned that the situation is "entering a critical stage."

The experts said the medical system in the Japanese capital "may collapse if the situation continues."

The warning follows a panel of experts and Tokyo metropolitan government officials meeting the previous day regarding the pandemic.

They decided to keep the medical system at the highest alert level on its four tier scale.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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