• Jiji, Kyodo, Staff Report

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

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

Tokyo confirmed 1,274 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, holding above 1,000 for an eighth day amid a fresh coronavirus state of emergency.

The number of severely ill patients counted under Tokyo’s criteria rose by five to a record 160, the metropolitan government said, as fears of hospitals being overwhelmed by the virus grow.

Among the total number of new cases, people in their 20s made up the largest group at 272, followed by 213 for people in their 30s and 211 among people in their 40s. The number of cases among people 65 and older was 247. The cumulative total in the capital is now 89,188.

Tokyo’s daily figure comes after 2,670 tests were conducted on Sunday. It usually takes around three days for tests to produce results.

Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures reported 716, 411 and 397 new cases, respectively, on Wednesday. Osaka and Fukuoka prefectures reported 506 and 277 cases.

Kagoshima and Wakayama prefectures marked record daily numbers of new cases, at 59 and 24.

In Chiba Prefecture, a COVID-19 patient with an underlying cardiovascular disease who was unable to find a hospital place despite showing worsening symptoms died on Monday.

Tokyo reported the deaths of two COVID-19 patients treated at home. One of the two, in his 60s with underlying conditions, died on Tuesday.

There were a record 1,001 serious cases nationwide on Tuesday, having increased by around 100 per week since the beginning of January. Over 100 coronavirus deaths were reported nationwide the same day, a record daily high.

Since December, at least 17 people infected with the virus are believed to have died while in quarantine at a hotel or at home after their symptoms suddenly worsened, according to a Kyodo News tally.

Many were elderly individuals who were asymptomatic or suffering from mild symptoms. Some had been in the process of scheduling hospitalization.

Over 30,000 people nationwide are currently isolating at home, while nearly 8,000 are staying in hotels.

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