Office cluster pushes Tokyo coronavirus cases to one-and-half-month high, governor says

TOKYO (Reuters) - The daily number of new coronavirus cases in Tokyo climbed to 55 on Wednesday, Governor Yuriko Koike said, the highest tally in 1-1/2 months after a cluster of infections was found at an unnamed office in the Japanese capital.

“Fifty-five daily cases was a bit of a shock to me when I first heard it,” Koike told reporters. “But our current situation is different from back in March and April, namely because our medical system is significantly different.”

The metropolis, with a population of 14 million, has sought to keep new cases below 20 a day since Japan lifted a state of emergency on May 25. Tokyo has said it could re-impose restrictions if the figure crept up to 50 or more - something that last happened on May 5.

Of the 55 new cases, nine were confirmed at the workplace, which already had seven recorded infections, Koike said. The new cases might have emerged outside the office where the employees had a meeting, she said.

Speaking before the latest figure was reported, Koike had warned of a “large number” on Wednesday as more positive test results followed a cluster of seven infections previously found at the office.

“Clusters in the workplace have become a big problem lately” as people have emerged from the capital’s ‘Stay Home’ initiative, she told reporters earlier.

Still, Tokyo - like the rest of Japan - has been spared the kind of explosive outbreak seen elsewhere, with some 5,800 coronavirus cases and 323 deaths so far.

In all of Japan, about 18,000 have tested positive and 965 have died so far from the COVID-19 illness. Globally, more than 9.26 million people have tested positive and some 475,880 have died.

Additional reporting by Junko Fujita and Sakura Murakami, Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Jacqueline Wong and Alex Richardson