Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday reiterated there is no immediate need to declare another state of emergency in Japan despite a recent resurgence in novel coronavirus infections.
Speaking at a press conference in Hiroshima, Abe said there had been far fewer serious and fatal cases recently compared to when the previous state of emergency was declared in April, and that hospitals across the country were better equipped to treat patients.
"The aim is to prevent the spread of infections as much as possible while also keeping social and economic activity going," he said. "It's a very difficult task, but we will act quickly and as necessary to protect lives and livelihoods while avoiding a situation where another state of emergency is needed."
After getting the outbreak under some degree of control in May, Japan has seen a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks especially in urban centers such as Tokyo and Osaka. On Wednesday 1,355 cases were reported across the country, according to a tally by Kyodo News.
There are concerns next week's Bon summer holiday could cause another spike in infections as the period usually sees airports, highways and bullet trains full as Japanese visit relatives in the regions or go on vacation.
Abe called on the public to take precautions against spreading the coronavirus, such as avoiding the "3 Cs" -- closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings -- should they choose to travel next week.
"I ask that we be especially careful not to spread infections to the elderly," he said.