• Staff report, Jiji, Kyodo

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Tokyo confirmed 714 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, nearly 100 more than the 619 reported a week before and topping 700 for the first time since May 26.

The figure came as concern grows over a recent jump in infections in Tokyo and after the government minister in charge of its coronavirus response hinted that a state of emergency may again need to be declared in the near future.

The capital’s daily infection tally averaged 508.4 in the week to Wednesday, compared with 422.7 the previous week, while the number of people severely ill with the coronavirus in Tokyo under the metropolitan government’s standards rose by four from a day earlier to 47. The capital also reported three deaths linked to the virus.

Through Saturday, the capital had seen four straight days of 100-plus, week-on-week rises in case numbers. On Monday, it confirmed 317 new cases, nearly 100 more than the 236 reported a week before, and Tuesday it saw 476 infections, more than the 435 in the preceding week.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases on Wednesday released an estimate that around 30% of COVID-19 infections in the Kanto region are of the extremely virulent delta variant, as of the end of June.

Elsewhere Wednesday, Okinawa Prefecture, the only prefecture still under a state of emergency, tallied 67 cases and two deaths. Chiba Prefecture reported 156 cases and one death, while Osaka Prefecture marked 108 cases and three deaths, and Hokkaido 38 cases and five deaths.

On Tuesday, new cases nationwide totaled 1,381, while there were 30 new fatalities. The number of severely ill patients, meanwhile, fell by 12 to 552, according to the health ministry.

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