• STAFF REPORT, JIJI, Kyodo

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The nationwide total of COVID-19 cases topped 25,000 for the third straight day as Tokyo reported 5,074 new cases Saturday.

Despite anti-virus measures taken under the state of emergency and quasi-emergency status in hard-hit areas, Japan is grappling with its largest wave of infections yet, with the strain on the medial system showing no signs of abating.

The number of severely ill patients under the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s criteria fell by three to 270. The metropolitan government also reported six deaths linked to the coronavirus.

The seven-day average of new cases in Tokyo rose to 4,718 from 4,231.1 a week before.

Other large urban areas continued to report near-record tallies, with Kanagawa Prefecture logging 2,705 cases and nine deaths, Osaka Prefecture seeing 2,556 cases and two deaths, and Chiba Prefecture recording 1,761 cases and six deaths. The prefectures of Saitama and Fukuoka logged 1,875 and 1,070 cases, respectively.

Elsewhere, Hyogo reported 1,025 cases, Hokkaido saw 579 infections, Okinawa confirmed 678 cases and Kyoto logged 547. Records were set in Gunma, with 325 cases, Mie, with 427 infections, and Kochi, which saw 87 cases.

The rampant spread of COVID-19 in Tokyo, which saw 5,094 cases a week ago, has reached disaster level, experts said Friday, warning of the possibility that many cases have not been detected.

Medical care systems in the capital will collapse if infections continue to spiral out of control, the experts said at a metropolitan government meeting on the COVID-19 situation.

The daily number of PCR and other tests conducted to detect the coronavirus is as low as around 13,000, although the metropolitan government claims that it is capable of testing 97,000 people a day.

It’s possible that people who need to get tested can’t do so swiftly, said Masataka Inokuchi, deputy chief of the Tokyo Medical Association.

“There might be many cases that have not been detected,” Inokuchi said, calling on the metropolitan government to test more people.

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