Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday that higher temperatures in the summer are unlikely to slow the transmission of the novel coronavirus in Japan, given that infections are high even in the Middle East.
"We cannot rest easy just because it's summer because the infection is spreading in the Middle East where temperatures are high," Abe said on an internet program, downplaying the idea that hotter conditions could play a role in lowering infections.
Temperatures in the Middle East have topped 35 C in cities such as Tehran and Riyadh, the capitals of Iran and Saudi Arabia, where statistics by the World Health Organization as of Sunday show around 185,000 and 123,000 cases have been confirmed, respectively.
Qatar, where the highest temperature has been around 40 C over the past two weeks, has seen the average daily infection figure during the period stay at around 1,500, higher than that for April when it was cooler.
Abe reaffirmed that the government is looking to expand medical and testing schemes against the virus ahead of a potential second wave of infections.
He also said the development of a smartphone application to notify users of potential contact with someone diagnosed with the virus infection is in its final stages, with its release aimed for this week.