COVID-19 cases rising nationwide

Courtesy of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases
The omicron coronavirus variant

COVID-19 cases are trending upward across Japan, according to a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry advisory panel monitoring the status of the pandemic.

It noted that the number of seriously ill patients is also slowly increasing and stressed the need to closely monitor the impact on the medical care system.

According to the ministry, the number of new COVID-19 cases nationwide increased by 17% in the week ending June 29 compared to the previous week. By prefecture, the number of new cases increased by 37% in Tokyo, 21% in Aichi, 33% in Osaka and 20% in Fukuoka.

Cases increased in 29 prefectures, mostly in metropolitan areas. Shimane prefecture saw a significant surge, with cases rising by 192%, and in Tottori prefecture, cases increased by 60% rise.

“It may be due to a gradual decline in the immunity that had been acquired through booster vaccinations or infection,” said Takaji Wakita, the panel’s chair and the head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. “The increase in opportunities for person-to-person contact is also believed to have had an impact.”

Wakita said there is a risk of further increases if the currently predominant omicron variant is replaced by the BA.5 subvariant in the future.