Tokyo stocks open lower on worries over virus cases

Nellie Chapman
November 20, 2020

The Japanese capital of Tokyo posted the highest coronavirus alert level on Thursday with its daily tally of new cases set for a record high of more than 500, and its governor warned of much worse unless action is taken.

In Australia, a state imposed a six-week lockdown after a new outbreak in Adelaide expanded to 22 cases, restricting people from leaving their homes, mandating masks, closing schools, factories and takeaway food, and banning funerals and weddings.

The number of serious cases requiring ventilators or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, also known as an ECMO lung bypass machine, dropped by one from the previous day to 38 on November 19, the Tokyo metropolitan government said. "I will do the same, starting today", he said.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has urged people to avoid eating in large groups and to spend less time together.

Tokyo is one of the epicenters of the outbreak with 534 new infections on Thursday, another record high.

Local media said the capital was not likely to request early business closures for now.

The Nikkei said Tokyo would keep the alert level for medical preparedness - a separate category - at the second-highest, indicating a need to boost capacity and a notch below critical levels.

"However, the most effective way to contain the virus spread is to diligently observe the protective measures we already have in place, and to hold one another accountable for everyone's safety".

First doses of China's CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Brazil
The Phase 3 trials of the vaccine are underway and early efficacy readings could come out in the upcoming weeks. They show that older adults aged 56-69 and over 70 had a similar immune response to younger adults aged 18-55.

Since January, Japan registered 121,000 cases of covid-19 and a little more than 1,900 deaths.

People wearing face masks walk in Tokyo's Shibuya area on October 3, 2020, on the first weekend after the Japanese capital was added to the "Go To Travel" subsidy program on October 1 amid continued worries over the novel coronavirus.

New cases have been rising sporadically but steadily in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka, Nagoya, Aichi, Hokkaido, Hyogo and Ibaraki prefectures, among others.

"While the government is continuing with campaigns to revitalise consumption, companies seem to be focusing on preventing their employees from being infected", Tokyo Shoko Research said in a report.

National broadcaster NHK said Suga had asked expert advisers to meet on Thursday and Friday to examine the growing number of infections, before the government brings in any new measures.

India's COVID-19 tally reached 8,958,483 as 45,576 new cases were registered across the country in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data released by the federal health ministry.

"It's crucial that people don't become complacent", Nakagawa stressed.

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