Japan on alert as COVID-19 cases rise

The Japanese government is seeing an increase in COVID-19 infections. On Monday it confirmed more than 780 new cases, the first time since October that the daily count has surpassed 700.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 103 new cases that day -- the first time the figure has risen above 100 since October 8.

The spike prompted Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko to say, "Many people will go back to work on Tuesday. And I hope they will take all possible anti-infection measures."

Many Japanese visit shrines to mark the New Year. In the past few days, 11 staff members of a shrine in Tokyo tested positive for the coronavirus. Authorities have suspended visits to the site.

Authorities in Okinawa are also seeing a spike. On Monday, the prefecture confirmed 130 new infections, marking the first time the figure has surpassed 100 since September.

Many people are taking precautions before returning to work, including getting tested.

A woman in her 40s at a Hiroshima testing center said, "I came here because I thought I should take a test before I start work, so as not to cause trouble in my workplace."

A girl at the same facility said, "If the number of infections keeps increasing, it will affect my club activities and school life, so I'm a little worried."

Authorities in 28 prefectures have reported cases of the new Omicron variant.