Japan’s daily COVID-19 infection rate has reached a new high, with 209,694 new cases recorded.
The case spike was driven by the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.5, bringing the national caseload to over 11.92 million.
Japan also recorded 129 new deaths on Wednesday, the second consecutive day of 100-plus deaths across the country, as the total death toll reached 32,207.
As the highly contagious variant spread since mid-July, the number of new infections in the week ending July 26 almost doubled from the previous week.
The current infection spikes have greatly strained the country’s health resources.
Medical workers are severely short-handed as many of them are either infected or confirmed as close contacts of those infected.
In response to the rapid spread of infections, the metropolitan government on Thursday raised the COVID-19 alert for the availability of medical care to the highest level on its four-tier scale.
According to a panel of experts at the health ministry on Thursday, the daily count of new COVID-19 cases is predicted to keep breaking records.