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Coronavirus

Tokyo's daily COVID cases jump to record 1,591

Japanese government expected to declare localized emergency on Thursday

Visitors in face masks wait to offer prayers on the first business day of the New Year at a shrine in Tokyo on Jan. 4.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's capital recorded 1,591 coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced, setting a new daily high.

The previous record had been 1,337 cases tallied on Dec. 31.

This is the second consecutive day for Tokyo to record over 1,000 new infections. The city's numbers have surged in recent weeks, with total infections reaching 66,343 and hospitals under pressure. Severely ill patients have also increased, reaching 113 on Wednesday -- the most during the pandemic so far.

Based on age group, new patients in their 20s made up the highest number on Wednesday at 439, while those in their 30s accounted for 326 and 40-somethings numbered 278. Elderly patients over the age of 65, who are at a higher risk of falling severely ill, accounted for 179.

The Japanese government is expected to declare a state of emergency for the Tokyo area, which includes neighboring Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures, as early as Thursday. Starting on Friday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will ask restaurants and bars to close by 8 p.m., shortening business by two hours compared to the current request.

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