Tokyo's COVID alert at 2nd-highest level as capital reports 3,124 new cases

The Tokyo metropolitan government raised its COVID-19 alert to the second-highest of four levels Thursday as the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to drive up infections.
It is the first time since September last year that the alert has stood at the second-highest level.
The lifting by one notch comes as the Japanese capital's daily count of coronavirus cases reached 3,124 on Thursday. The figure was up 926 from Wednesday and 2,483 more than last Thursday.
The metropolitan government expects that the current pace of increase would push the seven-day rolling average of new cases to around 9,567 a day in a week.
"It is entirely possible that case counts will go above 10,000," said Mitsuo Kaku, the head of an experts panel at the metropolitan government. "It is important to be fully prepared in advance."
The occupancy rate of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients was 13.7 percent Wednesday, with 954 people hospitalized. Four patients showed severe symptoms on Thursday, unchanged from Wednesday. The nationwide figure is 125, up 20 from Wednesday.
Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said the city will ask the Japanese government to declare a quasi-state of emergency if the occupancy rate reaches 20 percent and a state of emergency if the rate reaches 50 percent.
In Okinawa Prefecture, 1,817 cases were reported, up 173 from Wednesday. A further 560 new cases were reported by the U.S. military in the prefecture.
Among other prefectures, Aichi reported 1,036 cases, Hyogo 905, Hiroshima 805, Hokkaido 328, Shiga 287, Yamaguchi 218, Mie 186, Gifu 179 and Okayama 168.
Editor: Story will be updated later with more nationwide numbers.

© KYODO/Japan Today
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