Japan's COVID-19 case spike hits new record high
Japan on Friday reported 1,693 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, marking a fresh record of daily spike following the previous day's tally.
The latest rise in cases brings the nation's cumulative total of novel coronavirus infections to 115,516, not including those connected to a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo earlier in the year.
Health ministry officials said Friday that 231 people testing positive for the virus have been designated as being in a "severe condition" and are being treated with breathing apparatus in medical facilities.
Tokyo, the hardest hit among Japan's 47 prefectures by the pneumonia-causing virus, confirmed 374 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
This marks the third consecutive day the daily tally in the capital of 14 million population has passed the 300-mark, and has brought the city's cumulative total of COVID-19 cases to 34,144.
Japan's western prefecture of Osaka, the second hardest hit region, reported 263 new cases on Friday, bringing its total tally to 14,870.
The country's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, meanwhile, the location of a spike in infections and outbreaks of clusters recently, reported 235 new infections, to total 5,055.
Officials have said that as the temperature drops as winter approaches, particularly in northern regions, more people are staying indoors, sometimes in poorly ventilated rooms, which has helped the virus to spread.
Tokyo's neighboring prefecture of Kanagawa, for its part, saw cases rise by 146 on Friday to 9,893, according to the latest data released Friday evening.
Infections in Kanagawa remain the third highest in number in Japan.
Confirmed deaths in the country rose to 1,895 in total, showed the latest figures.