A panel of experts has warned that the coronavirus situation in Tokyo is still extremely serious, despite a recent drop in the weekly average of new cases.
The experts advising the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on its coronavirus response met on Thursday for their weekly assessment of the situation.
They decided to maintain the alert for both the infection situation in the capital and its medical system at the highest level of four.
The experts said the seven-day average of new cases in Tokyo as of Wednesday dropped to 1,015, compared with 1,471 for the previous week, and 1,699 for the week before that.
But they warned that the seven-day average is still very high. They said the average was about the same on January 6 -- two days before the state of emergency took effect in Tokyo. They added that the average is about three times the peak level marked in the second wave of infections last summer.
The experts said people should not let down their guard, and effective preventive measures should continue to be followed as strictly as possible.
They also warned that while the total number of new infections in Tokyo has started falling, the number of cases among people aged 65 or older has not, and the percentage of this group in the total has risen sharply.
The experts said elderly people are at high risk of developing serious symptoms and it is crucial to take steps to prevent infections among them.
They also said that Tokyo's medical system has been under strain for a long time, and has been undergoing a crisis situation, both in terms of caring for COVID-19 patients, and providing care for emergency patients who have other illnesses or injuries.
The experts stressed that to prevent the medical system from collapsing, it is vitally important to reduce the number of new infections of the coronavirus, especially the number of serious cases.