• staff report, Jiji, KYODO

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Three of the four prefectures under the new coronavirus state of emergency saw record numbers of cases for a Monday as the nationwide death toll linked to COVID-19 hit a grim milestone, surpassing 10,000 fatalities later in the evening.

The country’s virus-linked death toll came around three months after it reached 5,000, compared with the roughly 11 months it took to hit the 5,000 threshold after the first death was confirmed in February last year.

In setting the new Monday highs, Tokyo reported 425 new cases, Osaka Prefecture confirmed 924 infections and Hyogo Prefecture saw 310 cases. Kyoto Prefecture, the other under the emergency declaration that went into effect a day earlier, posted its second highest number of cases for a Monday, recording 119 infections.

The tally in the capital was the most for a Monday since Jan. 25, when it reported 619 cases. It was also slightly higher than the 405 cases reported last Monday.

The caseload in Tokyo boosted the seven-day average of new cases to 730.0, compared with 600.6 the week before. People age 65 or over, who are at high risk of developing severe symptoms, accounted for 42 of Monday’s cases. The number of severely ill patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria, meanwhile, rose by five from Sunday to 55.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, the total number of cases in Japan, including among cruise ship passengers and crew members, came to 569,080, up by 33,371 from a week before. The weekly number surpassed the preceding week’s total for the eighth consecutive week.

Osaka Prefecture recorded the largest number of new cases in the latest week, at 7,590, almost 1.5 times that of Tokyo, at 5,090. The total stood at 3,500 in Hyogo Prefecture and at 959 in Kyoto Prefecture.

The country’s third coronavirus state of emergency went into effect on Sunday as the country battles a fourth wave of infections driven by more contagious variants. It is scheduled to end May 11, though the possibility of an extension remains.

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