Japan reports 726 new cases of COVID-19 as Abe denies imminent state of emergency
The confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan increased by 726 to reach 28,977 as of Friday evening, according to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying there is no need to declare a state of emergency again for the time being.
The number excludes the 712 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo.
The death toll in Japan from the pneumonia-causing virus currently stands at a total of 1,007 people, including 13 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
The health ministry also said there are currently 68 patients considered severely ill with ventilators or in intensive care units.
In Tokyo, the epicenter of Japan's outbreak, 260 new cases of infections were reported on Friday, down from the previous day's record-high figure of 366 cases.
Along with Tokyo, some other urban areas have also seen sharp increases of infections since a nationwide state of emergency was completely lifted in late May.
Despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections, Abe said on Friday that the situation did not warrant another state of emergency.
"We are not in a situation to reimpose a state of emergency," he told reporters, adding that the central government is closely watching developments.