Tokyo confirmed 8,638 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, another record high, as the metropolitan government raised the coronavirus infection alert to the highest level on its four-tier scale for the first time since September amid a surge in infections.
The metropolitan government also raised the alert to monitor the medical availability by a notch to the second-highest level on its four-tier scale.
With infections on the rise since the turn of the year thanks to the spread of the omicron variant, Tokyoâ€™s daily figure hit a record for two days in a row after reporting 7,377 cases on Wednesday.
The seven-day average of new cases in the capital came to 5,386.1, up 358.3 percent from a week before. The number of severe cases fell by one from the previous day to nine, while no deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Thursday.
The occupancy rate for hospital beds set aside for COVID-19 reached 28.9%.
The capital will be subject to coronavirus quasi-emergency measures from Friday, under which the metropolitan government plans to urge restaurants and bars to shorten their operating hours.
Record daily cases were also confirmed in other prefectures, including Kanagawa at 3,344, Aichi at 3,074, Hiroshima at 1,569, Hokkaido at 1,437 and Kyoto at 1,320.
Osaka Prefecture reported 5,933 new cases Thursday, after posting a record 6,101 cases the previous day.
On Wednesday, Japanâ€™s daily count of new COVID-19 cases totalled 41,485, topping 40,000 for the first time and hitting a record high for the second straight day.