National

Japan reports single-day high 25 coronavirus-related deaths

KYODO, JIJI

Japan on Monday reported another 25 deaths caused by the new coronavirus, the country’s highest tally for a single day, with the number of infections still rising almost two weeks after a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo, Osaka and five other areas with large urban populations.

The total death toll stood at 276 as of Monday night, while Japan has confirmed at least 11,137 COVID-19 cases, excluding about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off Yokohama in February, as well as those among people who returned to the country on charter flights after the virus was first detected in China late last year.

Of the 25 new deaths, six were in Tokyo, three each in Hokkaido and Hyogo Prefecture, two each in Gunma, Kanagawa, Aichi and Kyoto prefectures, and one each in Toyama, Gifu, Osaka, Kochi and Fukuoka prefectures.

When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first declared a state of emergency for seven prefectures, including Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, on April 7, he said the number of infections was projected to peak in two weeks and begin falling if contact between people was reduced by 80 percent.

However, daily infection figures above 400 remain common, with the the country topping that number three times last week. The largest daily increase of reported cases was 501 on April 11.

With the number of infections growing, Abe expanded the state of emergency to all of Japan last Thursday.

Tokyo’s daily tally of new cases topped 200 for the first time on Friday.

The pace of infection is also accelerating in other parts of the country, including Hokkaido, where the number of new cases has again been increasing since April 8, after it lifted its own state of emergency in mid-March.

In Osaka Prefecture, 41 people at Namihaya Rehabilitation Hospital in the city of Osaka, and 27 at Meijibashi Hospital in the city of Matsubara, were additionally confirmed to be infected. The cumulative number of infection cases at the two hospitals increased to 96 and 35, respectively, leading the prefectural government to suspect cluster infections at the facilities.

In the central city of Toyama, 18 people at a elderly care home tested positive for the virus. Previously, four at the facility had been found infected with the virus, with one dying.

Kobe, meanwhile, confirmed a cluster, with the infections of seven waste collection workers at the Suma office of the city’s environment division. It has closed the office for two weeks, ordering its 55 staff members, excluding those infected, to stay home. Waste collection in the areas covered by the office will be conducted by other divisions for the duration of the order.

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