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The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients in Japan has jumped 5.6 times over a month as the country faces a seventh wave of infections, caused by the spread of the highly contagious BA.5 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus.

Hospital beds for coronavirus patients are increasingly being occupied, prompting an expert to say that it is wrong to think that omicron does not cause serious symptoms and that people should continue taking thorough measures to prevent infection as the summer holiday season begins.

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