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Japan shattered several COVID-19 records on Wednesday, including most infections and serious cases in a day. The country registered 2,812 cases, exceeding the previous all-time high of 2,684 set on Nov. 28. It also added 19 more serious cases, jumping to a record total of 555 critical patients nationwide.

New infections were reported in 43 of the country’s 47 prefectures and at airport quarantine stations. Among these, several prefectures saw record daily highs, including 245 cases in Aichi, 75 in Kyoto, 72 in Hiroshima, 49 in Gunma and 21 in Oita. Tokyo, meanwhile, reported 572 new cases — the second highest daily total ever.

The rising number of cases are prompting more and more medical workers in Japan to warn that care systems nationwide are in peril and that front-line medical workers are at their limits, Jiji reports.

“Even if a bed becomes available after a patient is discharged, the next patient comes in right away. Our hands are full,” one medical worker said.

Medical workers treat COVID-19 patients at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Medical Hospital in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward in November. | TOKYO MEDICAL AND DENTAL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL HOSPITAL / VIA KYODO
Medical workers treat COVID-19 patients at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Medical Hospital in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward in November. | TOKYO MEDICAL AND DENTAL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL HOSPITAL / VIA KYODO

The resurgence in COVID-19 cases comes as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga doubles down on his bet that promoting domestic travel will keep the economy on a recovery path and that his tenure as leader will continue beyond a single year, Bloomberg reports.

Despite the rising infections that some observers have blamed on Suga’s Go To Travel campaign, the government on Tuesday unveiled a six-month extension of the program as part of a ¥73.6 trillion economic stimulus package.

With support for his Cabinet falling amid the uptick in virus cases, he has to balance the need to prop up growth against the risk of fanning the outbreak.

But, say some economists, trying to support an economy with round after round of fiscal stimulus means that each subsequent spending spree, no matter how well targeted, tends to pack less punch.

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