623 new infections in Okinawa Pref., level not seen since August

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Okinawa prefectural government building

NAHA — The Okinawa prefectural government announced Wednesday that it had confirmed 623 new cases of novel coronavirus infection in the prefecture. The daily number is reaching the same level as in the late summer when the prefecture marked a record high of 809 cases on Aug. 25.

The prefectural government is making arrangements to request the central government to issue emergency-level priority measures for the prefecture.

The number of infection cases in the prefecture has increased rapidly, with 130 on Monday and 225 on Tuesday. The prefectural government believes that behind the increase is the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant that has been found at U.S. military bases in the prefecture since mid-December.

“The spread of the infection is abnormal,” Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki had told reporters after an emergency meeting of the prefecture’s task force Tuesday. “We have already entered the sixth wave.”

The number of infections is usually announced in the afternoon, but on Wednesday, the prefectural government released a provisional figure shortly after 10 a.m., saying that the figure would be around 600.

“The pace of increase is so rapid that the forecast was made public,” according to an official.

The task force will decide on infection control measures Thursday.