• Staff report, Jiji, Kyodo


Tokyo reported 316 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, as governors in the metropolitan area were looking to ask the central government to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency — due to expire Sunday — by about two weeks over concerns about slowing decline of infections.

Nationwide, 1,244 new coronavirus infection cases were confirmed, the first time above 1,000 in four days.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients fell by six from Tuesday to 407. New fatalities linked to the coronavirus totaled 63.

New cases rose compared with a week earlier in the three prefectures neighboring Tokyo that are also under the state of emergency. The totals were 98 in Saitama Prefecture, 164 in Chiba Prefecture and 139 in Kanagawa Prefecture.

The governors of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures hope to make a unified pitch to request the emergency extension together, with some media reports saying a decision by the central government could come as early as Thursday.

Tokyo’s 316 cases come after the capital saw 232 on Tuesday and was over a 100 more than the 213 cases reported the previous Wednesday.

Of Wednesday’s new cases in the capital, 65 were from people in their 20s, 50 in their 30s and 40 in their 40s. Those age 65 or over accounted for 91 cases.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria fell by two from a day earlier to 52. The cumulative number of cases in the capital is now 112,345.

Tokyo’s daily case total came after 1,491 tests were conducted on Sunday. It usually takes about three days for test results to affect the daily case count.

On Tuesday, the death toll linked to the virus rose by 65 to 8,026, topping the 8,000 mark 15 days after reaching 7,000 on Feb. 15, compared with 12 days between the 6,000 and 7,000 milestones.

People aged 80 and over accounted for 64.8% of the deaths as of Wednesday, far higher than 23.4% for those in their 70s and 7.6% for those in their 60s, the health ministry said.

Nationwide, Japan confirmed a total of 888 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, while the number of severely ill patients dropped by 23 to 413. The coronavirus variant spreading in Britain was also detected in seven people in their 20s to 80s in Hyogo Prefecture, the ministry said.

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