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Tokyo Governor Warns of Second COVID-19 Wave

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus take an escalator at Yokohama station near Tokyo, July 22, 2020.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike Wednesday asked residents to stay home over Japan’s upcoming four-day summer holiday weekend as confirmed COVID-19 cases have been surging in the capital.

At a news briefing, Koike said the city has topped 10,000 total cases. She said that, while there would need to be scientific analysis to say whether or not the city is experiencing a second wave of the virus, she recommended everyone prepare for it.

Tokyo reported 238 new cases Wednesday, down from last Friday’s record 293 daily cases, but still over 200 for the second day. The city has seen triple-digit new cases for all but two days in July.

Looking toward the upcoming long weekend, Koike said she would like Tokyo residents, especially older people and those with pre-existing conditions, to “refrain from going out as much as possible.” Japan will begin a four-day weekend on Thursday. The holiday had been established for the now-postponed Olympic games, which were to have started Friday.

Japan has never had a total lockdown but officials asked businesses to close and people to work from home in a state of emergency starting in April, that was gradually lifted recently.

Japan has around 26,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and about 1,000 deaths.

Last Friday’s 293 daily cases is the highest for Tokyo since the pandemic started in China and spread to Japan late last year.