Japan is on “maximum alert” after logging a record number of daily coronavirus infections, its prime minister said Thursday, though no immediate restrictions are planned.
The comments came as Tokyo raised its alert level to the top of its four-tier system, with local media saying the capital would report a record number of infections for a second day running.
“We are now in a situation of maximum alert,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
“I ask you, the Japanese people, to fully implement principles such as wearing masks,” Suga added, urging people to wear them even while talking during meals in restaurants.
Russia surges past 2M cases
Russia’s total coronavirus caseload surpassed two million on Thursday as officials registered record increases in new infections and virus-related deaths.
The country has witnessed a surge in cases over recent weeks but authorities have stopped short of reintroducing stringent lockdown measures like several European countries.
Health officials reported 23,610 new infections Thursday and 463 virus-related deaths, both record highs since the beginning of Russia’s outbreak.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the outbreak as “very worrying” and said it was President Vladimir Putin’s “top priority.”
Total infections stood at 2.02 million – the fifth-highest caseload in the world – while deaths reached 34,850 in the country of 145 million.
US death toll
US coronavirus deaths passed a quarter of a million people Wednesday as New York announced it would close schools to battle a rise in infections.
America has now registered 250,426 fatalities, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University, by far the highest reported national death toll.
US states and cities were imposing a raft of new restrictions, including home confinement, the closure of indoor dining and a limit on gatherings as cases soar across the country, with more than 157,950 new infections recorded over the past 24 hours on Wednesday.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s 1,800 public schools would revert to remote learning beginning Thursday after the Big Apple recorded a seven-day average positivity rate of three percent.
“We must fight back the second wave of COVID-19,” he said.