Suga urges caution over New Year’s break as COVID-19 cases keep rising

Suga urges caution over New Year’s break as COVID-19 cases keep rising

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that greater caution will be necessary to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus as companies prepare to take a break during the New Year’s holidays.

“Nearly a year has passed since the virus emerged, and it continues to spread throughout the country,” Suga said during a news conference Friday evening. “In order to avoid adding to the burden on hospitals and front-line workers, I ask for the cooperation of the people so that we can return even a day sooner to the life we had before the virus.”

Japan is struggling to contain a nationwide surge of COVID-19 that began in late October and has affected nearly every major population center.

The country reported a record-breaking 3,743 new cases on Thursday, bringing the nation’s cumulative total to 211,000 infections and 3,100 deaths. On Friday, Tokyo reported 884 new cases — the second-highest figure on record after the capital logged 888 the day before.