• staff report, Jiji, Kyodo

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Tokyo reported 1,471 new cases of infection with the novel coronavirus on Thursday, with the daily count exceeding 1,000 for the ninth straight day.

The number of patients determined to be severely ill under Tokyo's criteria remained high at 159, just one shy of a record 160 reported Wednesday, as fears of hospitals being overwhelmed by the virus grow.

People in their 20s made up the largest group of new cases by age, at 300, followed by 241 in their 30s and 222 in their 50s. Patients age 65 or older came to 290, the metropolitan government said.

Tokyo’s daily figure comes after 14,870 tests were conducted on Monday. It usually takes around three days for tests to produce results.

Tokyo's tally for January topped 30,000 on Thursday, with the month already accounting for around a third of the capital's cumulative total.

Its monthly tally of new infections now stands at 30,482, with its cumulative total at 90,659.

The unabated rise in cases has fanned growing concerns that the medical system is on the brink of collapse, with a notable increase in the number of cases of people dying at home.

On Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms nationwide rose by 13 to 1,014, marking a record high for the 17th consecutive day, the health ministry said.

The same day, the country confirmed 5,532 new cases and 92 new fatalities from the virus. The new deaths included 12 in Osaka and 10 in Tokyo.

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