• Staff report, KYODO


The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported a record 678 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, amid a recent resurgence of infections across Japan.

The figure, which topped the previous high of 621 on Saturday, brought the total number of infections confirmed in the capital to 48,668. The number of serious cases in the capital fell by nine from the previous day to 69.

Nearly 3,000 cases were reported by local authorities across the country the same day, bringing the cumulative total to over 188,000. Tokyo reported 10 deaths, NHK reported, the highest since the state of emergency was lifted in the capital in late May. The nationwide death toll, meanwhile, rose to about 2,750.

The number of COVID-19 patients has been running high since mid-November in Tokyo, the hardest hit of the country’s 47 prefectures, and surpassed 600 for the first time on Thursday last week.

The seven-day rolling average of new infections in Tokyo stood at 534.4 on Wednesday, after topping 500 on Sunday for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally based on official data.

Among the 678 cases reported Wednesday, people in their 20s made up the highest number at 184, followed by those in their 30s at 123 and those in their 40s at 107. Infections among those 65 or older amounted to 94 cases.

As part of efforts to curb infections, the Tokyo government decided earlier this week to extend its request for restaurants, bars and karaoke establishments serving alcohol in most parts of the capital to adopt shorter business hours through Jan. 11.

On Tuesday, Japan saw a record 53 deaths linked to the virus, while the number of severely ill patients grew by four from the previous day to 592, also a record high.

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