• KYODO, REUTERS, STAFF REPORT

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The number of newly reported COVID-19 cases in Tokyo exceeded 3,000 for the first time in a single day Wednesday, with the capital registering 3,177 infections, the metropolitan government said, as the country logged more than 9,000 total cases — the most ever.

The all-time highs comes just a day after the capital, hosting the Olympics since last week, logged 2,848 daily infections, exceeding the previous record of 2,520 cases recorded on Jan. 7. Tokyo reported 1,832 coronavirus cases a week ago.

Japan has avoided the devastating outbreaks suffered by other nations such as India, Indonesia and the United States, but a fifth wave of the pandemic fueled by the delta variant is piling pressure on hospitals in the Olympic host city.

Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba, which are currently under looser quasi-emergency restrictions, are also seeing infections spike. Many of their residents travel to the capital.

On Wednesday, all three hit record daily highs, with Kanagawa logging 1,051 cases, Saitama posting 870 and Chiba confirming 577 infections. Ibaraki Prefecture, which borders Chiba, also hit a record-high, with 194 cases.

The central government was weighing declaring a virus state of emergency for all three prefectures, local media said, after governors from there three were reportedly looking to ask for the state of emergency amid a surge in infections driven by the delta variant.

In Tokyo, new daily infections now averaged 1,954.7 in the week to Wednesday, compared with 1,277.6 the previous week. The capital also reported 80 COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms, falling by two from Tuesday. It also reported six deaths linked to the virus.

But cases have also been rising outside the Kanto region.

Osaka Prefecture reported 798 cases, over 700 for the second straight day, Hyogo Prefecture saw 254 cases and Kyoto Prefecture logged a record 175 infections. Aichi Prefecture, meanwhile, saw 256 infections.

Elsewhere, Okinawa Prefecture confirmed 347 cases, the second day in a row over 300, while Hokkaido reported 227 infections.

Health experts warned last week 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.

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