• Staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo confirmed 374 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, the metropolitan government said, topping 300 for three consecutive days.

The figure for Friday was based on 6,136 tests. The capital’s cumulative tally of cases stood at 34,144, with the number of seriously ill patients at 39.

Of Friday’s total, people in their 20s made up the largest group of new infections, at 100, followed by those in their 30s, at 66, and those in their 50s, at 60.

A day earlier, the number of novel coronavirus infection cases confirmed across the country marked a record high of 1,661, eclipsing the previous high of 1,605 logged on Aug. 7.

New cases hit a record daily high in Hokkaido, at 236, Kanagawa Prefecture, at 147, Hyogo Prefecture, at 81, and Ibaraki Prefecture, at 26. The country’s cumulative death toll from the coronavirus rose by 10 to 1,886, with the new fatalities reported in Tokyo and prefectures including Hokkaido and Miyagi.

“The number of newly confirmed infection cases is increasing markedly, so we have a strong sense of crisis,” economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of the government’s coronavirus responses, told a news conference.

According to a Jiji Press tally, the 236 new cases in Hokkaido included 164 in its capital, Sapporo, which was a record daily high for the city. In Sapporo, new infection clusters were confirmed at a municipal junior high school and a vocational school. Hokkaido also confirmed the first infection cluster on a remote island, at a restaurant on the island of Rishiri.

The daily count of new coronavirus infection cases in Hokkaido exceeded 100 for the first time on Nov. 5 and reached 200 on Monday. It stood above 100 for eight days in a row through Thursday.

“If the current situation continues for a week, the local medical system could collapse,” Harumichi Matsuka, head of the Sapporo Medical Association, warned at a news conference.

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