• staff report, Jiji

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Osaka reported yet another record high of 1,208 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as experts called the nationwide resurgence of infections a "fourth wave" and urged the government to consider a fresh state of emergency.

Osaka's daily count rose above 1,000 for the third consecutive day, while Tokyo confirmed 729 new cases, the first time the capital's daily tally has topped 700 since Feb. 4.

Tokyo's figure is significantly higher than the 545 new cases reported last Thursday, and the upward trend follows that of Osaka and its neighbors — where daily cases are hitting record highs.

The seven-day average of daily infection figures in Tokyo came to 523.4, compared with 427 in the previous week.

Of the newly infected people in Tokyo, 203 were in their 20s, 145 were in their 30s, 122 were in their 40s and 83 were 65 or older.

The number of severely ill patients under the metropolitan government's standards fell by four from the previous day to 37.

"We're running out of hospital beds as the proportion of severely ill patients is high," Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said Wednesday.

In the neighboring prefecture of Hyogo, the daily count of new cases came 493 on Thursday, following a record 507 reported on Wednesday. Gov. Toshizo Ido said the prefecture's medical system was in a "critical situation."

Large tallies were also recorded Thursday in the Tokyo area prefectures of Kanagawa, with 242, Saitama, 188, and Chiba, 144.

Elsewhere, Aichi Prefecture logged 218 new cases, while Okinawa Prefecture recorded 134, its third straight day over 100.

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