The number of coronavirus patients with serious symptoms in Tokyo hit a record 108 on Monday, exceeding the previous high of 105 logged in April last year during the state of emergency amid concerns over hospital capacity.
The metropolitan government reported 884 new infections the same day, bringing its cumulative total to 63,474, by far the largest among the country's 47 prefectures.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and her counterparts in Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures on Saturday urged the central government to issue a second state of emergency declaration for their areas, days after the capital reported more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time.
A government source said a fresh virus emergency declaration could be made later this week. But Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga hinted Monday that social and economic activities are unlikely to be halted across the board this time, saying the state of emergency should be implemented "in a limited and focused manner."
Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama are now arranging to jointly ask dining and drinking establishments to close by 8 p.m. from later this week, further cutting their operating hours from the 10 p.m. closing time currently requested, to help curb the spread of coronavirus infections.