Japan confirmed a record 108 new deaths linked to the coronavirus on Friday, as the pandemic continues to rage across the country despite the government’s declaration of a second state of emergency two weeks ago.
Although daily new cases have shown signs of peaking out in some prefectures, they are far more than those reported during the first state of emergency, issued in April last year, while the death toll has also surged.
New deaths confirmed Friday included 16 in Osaka Prefecture and 12 in neighboring Hyogo Prefecture. Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, saw a record 11 daily deaths.
In Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, a man in his 60s was found dead while being treated at his home. He had shown only light symptoms and had had no underlying conditions. The country’s cumulative death toll from the virus reached 4,994.
The number of coronavirus patients with severe symptoms across the country fell by three from a day before to 1,011, according to the health ministry.
Nationwide, the country confirmed 5,047 new coronavirus cases.
Tokyo reported 1,175 new cases, the 10th consecutive day above 1,000, but nearly half the 2,392 marked two weeks before and down from 2,001 a week before.
People in their 20s made up the largest group of new cases in the capital by age, at 223, followed by 173 in their 40s and 172 in their 30s. People aged 65 or older came to 297. The number of severely ill patients fell by one from Thursday to 158.
In Chiba, 46 new cases were confirmed at a prison in 14 days through Thursday.
Health minister Norihisa Tamura told a news conference Friday that the virus situation appeared unchanged over the two weeks since the emergency declaration, adding that the government would closely watch for any changes.
Asked whether the government could lift the state of emergency, which was extended to seven other prefectures on Jan. 14, in early February as planned, Tamura said a final decision will be made based on opinions from experts. The newly covered prefectures are Aichi, Fukuoka, Gifu, Hyogo, Kyoto, Osaka and Tochigi.
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