Eateries in Tokyo will be allowed to serve alcohol from Monday following the lifting of the coronavirus state of emergency in the capital, Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday, amid signs of an upward trend in infections for the first time in over a month.
People will be able to drink alcohol alone or in pairs for up to 90 minutes between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at restaurants and bars certified as having taken steps to control infection, Koike told reporters.
Osaka Prefecture has decided to enforce similar measures.
Tokyo on Friday reported 453 new coronavirus cases, higher than the 435 infections reported last Friday, marking the third day in a row cases have been higher than the same day the previous week.
A metropolitan government official expressed strong concern about a rebound, requesting that people "acknowledge the situation is serious."
Among the new infections on Friday, 19 people are suspected of contracting a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus, first detected in India.
Across Japan, a total of 1,623 new infections were confirmed the same day. Severe cases increased by 12 from Thursday to 775, according to the health ministry.
In Tokyo, eateries would still be requested to close at 8 p.m. and should there be an explosive rise in infections, they will be requested to stop serving alcohol immediately if health experts deem it necessary, Koike added.
If the situation improves, the metropolitan government will consider further easing measures based on the progress of vaccinations, she said.