• Staff report, Jiji, Kyodo


Tokyo reported 1,832 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, rising by nearly 700 and surpassing the week-before figure for the 32nd consecutive day.

The figure in Tokyo was the most since Jan. 16 and the sixth highest daily tally ever in the capital.

Wednesday’s total surged from the 1,149 cases reported a week before as infections continue to rise in Tokyo. Daily new infections in the capital averaged 1,277.6 in the week to Wednesday, compared with 823.3 the previous week. It was also the most the capital has ever reported on a Wednesday.

The number of people severely ill with COVID-19 under the metropolitan government’s criteria rose by four, to 64, from a day earlier. The capital also reported four coronavirus-linked deaths.

Neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture, meanwhile, logged 522 cases, topping 400 for seven straight days, while Saitama Prefecture reported 381 case, topping 350 for the first time since Jan. 22, and Chiba Prefecture saw 302 infections, rising above 300 for the first time since late January, as the capital region braces itself amid a rise in infections.

Early signs of a surge are also emerging outside Kanto. Osaka Prefecture, which was hard hit by the country’s fourth wave of infections, reported 491 cases, jumping above 400 for the first time since May 22.

Elsewhere, Okinawa Prefecture confirmed 169 cases and four deaths, while Hokkaido reported 118 infections and Hyogo Prefecture reported 120 cases. Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures, meanwhile, reported 109 and 136 cases, respectively.

Experts say Japan appears to be experiencing a fifth wave of infections as new cases increase ahead of the opening of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

Health experts warned Wednesday of a possible “critical” coronavirus situation in Tokyo, as they estimated infections could surge even further in early August during the Olympics.

The experts advising the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said the seven-day moving average of new infections in the capital could reach 2,600 per day as of Aug. 3 if the virus continues to spread at the current pace, a worse scenario than in the third wave that swept across Tokyo in the winter.

On Tuesday, new infections totaled 3,758 nationwide, with COVID-19 fatalities coming to 20. The number of severely ill patients, meanwhile rose by 14 to 406.

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