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Japan logs record daily 255,000 COVID-19 cases

Skyscrapers in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward are seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter in April 2020. The building seen in the center is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters. (Mainichi/Kota Yoshida)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan posted about 255,000 daily coronavirus infections on Thursday, hitting a record high as the country grapples with the seventh wave of the pandemic.

    Fueled by the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 subvariant, the tally eclipsed the previous record of 250,403 cases logged on Aug. 10.

    The number is expected to increase further as more people chose to travel to see their families during Japan's Bon summer holidays without any behavioral restrictions.

    The record figure came even as the nationwide tally for the week through Wednesday decreased to about 87 percent of the figure for the previous seven days.

    Health minister Katsunobu Kato called on people to stay alert, saying, "the number of cases remains high overall."

    The hospital bed occupancy rate is on the rise and the death toll and the number of people with severe symptoms are increasing, he added.

    The ministry's advisory panel said the soaring number of cases have further strained the medical system, referring to more ambulances struggling to find an available hospital for patients.

    Seventeen prefectures, including Yamagata and Tokushima, saw the number of cases rise from the previous week.

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