• Kyodo, Staff report, Jiji

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Japan confirmed 7,056 novel coronavirus infection cases on Wednesday, marking the first figure above 7,000 in four days.

Deaths among COVID-19 patients increased by 105, with the new fatalities including 50 in Osaka Prefecture.

The number of severely ill patients with the coronavirus stood at 1,189 as of Wednesday, up by 13 from the previous day and standing above 1,000 for the 12th straight day, according to the health ministry.

New COVID-19 cases hit record daily highs in seven of the country's 47 prefectures: northernmost Hokkaido logged 529; Fukushima in the northeast, 93; Gifu and Aichi in central Japan, 134 and 679, respectively; Hiroshima in the west, 219; and Fukuoka and Kagoshima in southwestern Japan, 635 and 61, respectively.

The daily count surpassed 600 for the first time in Aichi and Fukuoka, both of which were added to the country's third coronavirus state of emergency Wednesday, while Hiroshima saw the first figure above 200.

Tokyo reported 969 new COVID-19 cases, while Osaka confirmed 851.

Wednesday’s caseload in Tokyo was also higher than that of a week ago, when the capital reported 621 cases, and two weeks ago, on April 28, when it recorded 925 infections.

Of Wednesday’s total cases in Tokyo, people age 65 or over, who are at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, accounted for 100 cases, while the number of patients in serious condition under the metropolitan government’s criteria came to 86, up by five from Tuesday.

The total of new infections recorded in Tokyo in the week through Wednesday averaged 874, compared with 798.9 a week earlier.

On Tuesday, Japan registered 6,244 new infections nationwide, while a total of 113 new deaths linked to the virus were reported across the country, marking the first day with over 100 new fatalities in four days.

The figure included 55 in Osaka Prefecture, a record high there. Most of the 55 people were in their 70s or older, while they also included two in their 40s and three in their 50s.

Osaka Prefecture confirmed 974 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and its medical system remained under severe strain, with the occupancy rate for hospital beds for severely ill patients above 158%.

According to the health ministry, a total of 19,262 suspected cases of infection with coronavirus variants had been found around the country by Tuesday.

Of the total, 4,600 cases were confirmed in Tokyo, up by 1,811 from a week before, and 3,237 cases in Osaka, up by 765.

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