Surge in new cases of coronavirus across Japan

The Tokyo metropolitan government has reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases in a month, just three days after a state of emergency was lifted.

Tokyo officials confirmed 420 new infections Wednesday. It's the second tally this month to breach 400.
And it's further stoking fears a new wave could be on the way.

Officials further north share that anxiety. Sendai Mayor Kohri Kazuko said, "We're experiencing an unprecedented upsurge. It's very critical."

Miyagi's capital is home to a million people. It declared its own state of emergency last week, but cases continue to rise, now hitting a daily record of 131.

The mayor is calling for more testing, and for bars and restaurants to shorten their business hours starting Thursday.

In Osaka, people have similar fears going out to eat is causing the virus to spread. The western prefecture reported over 260 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since an emergency declaration was lifted last month.

Another concern is the spread of more contagious strains. The latest weekly statistics show a 17 percent increase in cases linked to variants first found in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.

Japan's doctors association is worried about how rural areas will deal with spiking cases.

Japan Medical Association President Nakagawa Toshio said, "I think variants are one of the factors behind the spread of infections... I feel it's critical that we take various preventative measures as soon as possible."

The national total for Wednesday sits at over 1,900 new cases, taking cumulative case numbers above 460,000. Nearly 9,000 people have died.