Japan's new COVID-19 cases top 10,000 for 1st time

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A total of 10,110 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Japan until 5:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, topping 10,000 for the first time in the country with a record number of 3,865 daily COVID-19 cases confirmed in Tokyo, local media reported.

The figure comes after the capital reported 3,177 cases on Wednesday, the first time surpassing 3,000, with 9,576 new cases recorded across the country which exceeded 9,000 for the first time and topped the earlier record of 7,958 set on Jan. 8.

The seven-day average of daily cases in the capital that has been hosting the Olympics since last week reached 2,224.1 cases, compared to 1,373.4 the previous week.

The figure of severely ill patients under the metropolitan government's criteria rose by one from the day earlier to 81.

The Japanese government is likely to finalize the decision on a COVID-19 state of emergency for three prefectures neighboring Tokyo including Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama as early as Friday.

On Thursday, Shigeru Omi, the Japanese government's top medical adviser, warned that the country faces its most serious situation ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, urging the government to send out a clearer and stronger message about its increasing risk to the medical system.

"The biggest crisis is that society does not share a sense of risk," Omi said. "The numbers (for Tokyo) surpassed 3,000 and this may have some announcement effect."

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases has estimated that the highly contagious Delta variant is now responsible for about 70 percent of infection cases in the metropolitan area.

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