Seven of Japan’s 47 prefectures were at the worst level on the country’s four-tier scale for gauging the degree of the spread of the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday, the health ministry said Friday.

The seven prefectures saw their occupancy rates for hospital beds for coronavirus patients surpass 50%, the trigger for entering Stage 4, which indicates that infections are spreading explosively.

The seven are Hokkaido, Gunma, Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka, Hyogo and Kochi prefectures.

The number of prefectures with a hospital bed occupancy rate of 20% or more, or in Stage 3, the second-worst level indicating a rapid increase of infections, grew by one from a week before to 29.

The bed occupancy rate was highest in Osaka, at 63.8%, up 3.5 percentage points, followed by Hyogo, at 61.9%. down 1.7 points, and Gunma, at 61.8%, up 11.9 points.

It also stood at 51.1% in Hokkaido, 53.7% in Tokyo, 55.5% in Aichi and 59.5% in Kochi.

The bed occupancy rate for severely ill COVID-19 patients topped 20% in 12 prefectures, putting them in Stage 3.

The rate rose by 2.2 points to 68.6% in Tokyo, the highest among all prefectures in the country, and grew by 9.2 points to 64.5% in Osaka, which are in Stage 4.

Meanwhile, Japan confirmed a record 3,832 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the third consecutive day above 3,000.

The country reported a record 64 new deaths from the virus, including 15 in Hyogo Prefecture and 10 in Tokyo. There were 644 seriously ill patients with the virus.

Five prefectures saw a record number of new daily cases, with Saitama, at 298, Kyoto, at 121, Hyogo, at 232, Hiroshima, at 141, and Kumamoto, at 68.

Tokyo reported 884 new cases, its second-highest daily count, after 888 on Thursday.

People in their 20s made up the largest age group of Tokyo’s new cases, at 246. Those aged 65 or older totaled 94.

The number of severely ill patients grew by eight from the previous day to 81, hitting a new high since the Japanese government lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in the capital in late May.

Of Hyogo’s new cases, 71 involved a hospital in Kakogawa, where a cluster infection emerged.

Elsewhere, five workers at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture tested positive for the virus in an apparent cluster.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.