• Staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo confirmed 1,359 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the metropolitan government said, up from 1,271 from a week before and surpassing the week-on-week figure for the 34th consecutive day.

Elsewhere, Kanagawa Prefecture posted 652 cases, topping 600 for the second day in a row, while Saitama Prefecture saw 401 cases and Osaka Prefecture recorded 379 cases.

Okinawa Prefecture reported 100 new cases, while Hokkaido saw 79 and three deaths linked to the virus. Aichi Prefecture confirmed 69 new cases.

Daily new infections in the capital averaged 1,386 in the week to Friday, compared with 946.3 the previous week.

Tokyo had 68 COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms, an increase of three from Thursday. The capital also reported one death.

On Thursday, 5,397 new cases were confirmed across Japan — the first daily tally above 5,000 since May 22.

Among prefectures that border Tokyo, Saitama on Thursday reported 510 new cases, its first daily figure above 500 since January. Kanagawa posted 631 new cases, its first count above 600 since January.

The country recorded six new COVID-19 deaths. The number of severely ill patients rose by two from Wednesday to 392, according to the health ministry.

Norio Sugaya, a doctor at Keiyu Hospital in Yokohama, said: “The delta variant, which was first detected in India and continues to spread in Japan, is very contagious and therefore is a very dangerous virus. A major outbreak, in which past countermeasures are not able to be effective, is starting to occur.”

“The Tokyo Olympics comes at the worst time as the mutated strain is spreading,” Sugaya said, urging unvaccinated people to refrain from going out at least until the end of August and to be sure to take measures to prevent infection.

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