Nearly 1,000 COVID-19 patients who requested an emergency ambulance service in Tokyo during the first week of August were turned away by hospitals, the Tokyo Fire Department said Thursday, as record levels of coronavirus infections in the capital outstrip hospitals' capacity to treat patients.

Of 1,668 people who were isolating at home or designated facilities and sought an ambulance due to the worsening of their condition, 959 could not be accepted at any medical institution, it said.

Tokyo has been under a fourth COVID-19 emergency since July 12, but the resurgence of infections shows no sign of abating, forcing the Suga administration to set a new policy earlier in the month under which more COVID-19 patients with mild or in some cases moderate symptoms will be asked to recover at home to cope with a hospital bed shortage.