Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike gestures as she attends a joint news conference with Japan's Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura…
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike gestures as she attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 10, 2020.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike called on residents Thursday to refrain from traveling outside the capital as Japan enters its summer holiday period because of a recent surge in COVID cases.

At a Thursday news briefing, Koike said she understands that it is the "Obon" festival, a period during which Japanese people customarily travel to visit family, but she urged residents to refrain from travel or even going out to restaurants to protect "loved ones, family and medical fields.”

Reported coronavirus cases have been surging recently, totaling 360 new cases for Thursday. Koike noted the number of new cases surpasses the levels from April, when the city was under a state of emergency.

She said she does not believe they need to make a similar declaration at this time, but said, “if the situation worsens further, we may have no choice but to issue a state of emergency in Tokyo. In order to avoid such a situation, we must do everything possible to curb infections this summer.”

Japan has never had a total lockdown but asked businesses to close and people to work from home after the government issued a national state of emergency in April. The restrictions were lifted in late May.

Japan has more than 43,400 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 1,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

 

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