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Japan reports 2,687 COVID-19 cases amid concerns over strain to medical system

(Xinhua)    10:49, December 23, 2020

TOKYO, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Japan on Tuesday confirmed 2,687 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nation's cumulative total to 203,717, not including those related to a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier in the year.

Cases in Japan in the previous day topped the 200,000-mark, with surging cases around the country causing heightened concerns about the medical system's ability to cope under the increasing strain.

Despite the recent surge in virus cases and the strain on the medical system, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday said there was no need to declare a national state of emergency, although further restrictions on bars and restaurants may be put in place.

The pace of the virus' spread of late has many experts extremely concerned about the medical system possibly buckling as it took less than two months for the figure to double to top the 200,000-mark, compared to the nine and a half months it took to reach the 100,000-mark from when the first case was diagnosed in January.

"The spread of the virus has led to a rise in the number of hospitalized patients and those suffering from severe cases," Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday.

"It will be difficult to manage general medical treatment alongside the pandemic," Wakita, who also chairs a government panel of medical experts, said.

Tokyo, the hardest hit by the virus among Japan's 47 prefectures, reported 563 new infections, bringing the capital's caseload to 52,382 people. The Tokyo metropolitan government raised its alert regarding the strain on the medical system to the highest level last week.

The western prefecture of Osaka, meanwhile, confirmed 283 new COVID-19 cases, while Tokyo's neighboring prefecture of Kanagawa reported 348 additional infections.

Aichi Prefecture added 190 new cases, while Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido reported 74 new infections.

The national death toll has topped the 3,000-mark with a total number of 3,025.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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