• staff report, jiji, Kyodo


Okinawa Prefecture reported 1,533 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as it was placed under quasi-emergency measures the same day.

Sunday's tally comes after the prefecture reported record highs for three days in a row, with Saturday marking 1,759 cases, which was more than a thirtyfold increase in a week.

Also Sunday, U.S. forces in the prefecture logged a record 429 new cases.

The quasi-emergency will be in effect until Jan. 31 in Okinawa and parts of Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures, allowing the prefectural governments to strengthen their anti-coronavirus steps and request that dining establishments shorten their business hours and stop serving alcohol. The surge in new cases in Hiroshima Prefecture continued Sunday, with the prefecture tallying a record 619 cases, up from 547 the day before.

The quasi-emergency, the first called under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's administration, was declared as medical experts warn of a sixth wave of infections in the country and a renewed strain on the medical system.

In Tokyo, the number of new infection cases grew by more than fourteenfold from a week before to hit 1,223 on Sunday, exceeding 1,000 for the second day in a row.

The latest seven-day average of new cases in the capital came to 664.9, up by about tenfold from a week ago. The number of severely ill patients under Tokyo's own criteria remained the same as previous day at four, while no new deaths were confirmed.

Osaka confirmed 880 new cases Sunday, after reporting 891 the previous day. The daily figure was just 57 a week earlier.

Japan reported 8,480 new cases of coronavirus infection on Saturday, with the daily figure topping 8,000 for the first time since Sept. 11 last year.

The nationwide number of severely ill COVID-19 patients fell by two from the previous day to 89, while there were two new deaths among coronavirus patients.

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