Japan confirms over 4,000 new coronavirus cases

The Associated Press
People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk on the street in Tokyo on Thursday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — New cases of novel coronavirus infection in Japan exceeded 4,000 on Thursday for the first time since Sept. 18, 2021.

The southernmost prefecture of Okinawa logged 981 new cases, a record daily high and up sharply from Wednesday’s 623 cases. The previous record-high daily count in Okinawa was 809, marked on Aug. 25, 2021, when the prefecture was under a national government-declared COVID-19 state of emergency.

New infection cases also hit a record high in Yamaguchi Prefecture on Thursday, coming to 181, up from 104 the previous day. The tally eclipsed the western prefecture’s previous record high of 119, set on Aug. 19 last year.

In Tokyo, 641 people newly tested positive for the virus, up from 390 for Wednesday. The western prefecture of Osaka confirmed 505 new cases, more than double the 244 for Wednesday.

Across the country, the number of COVID-19 patients in severe condition stood at 64 as of Thursday, up by four from the previous day.

According to the health ministry, cumulative confirmed cases of infection with the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus in Japan came to 1,480 as of 9 p.m. Wednesday (noon GMT). Of them, 546 people have never traveled abroad, and infection routes are unknown for the group.

The Yamaguchi prefectural government said that at least 81 of the 181 new cases were in the city of Iwakuni, which hosts the U.S. military’s Iwakuni base.

On top of the 181 cases, 115 people related to the base were newly confirmed to have the coronavirus. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases at the base reached 786, including 540 confirmed since the beginning of last month.

At a medical institution in Iwakuni, 12 people were found to be infected with the virus, leading the Yamaguchi prefectural government to recognize the event as an infection cluster.