Japan's Covid-19 cases, deaths spike amid 'critical 3-week effort'

Updated December 15, 2020

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IANS

Tokyo, Dec 15 (IANS) Despite a "critical three-week effort" in Japan aimed at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus, the number of both confirmed cases and deaths have continued to spike, leading to speculations that the country is amidst a "third wave" of the pandemic.

On Monday, the country reported 1,677 new Covid-19 cases, increasing the country's overall infection tally to 182,289, while the death toll stood at 2,528, Xinhua news agency reported.

Following the government calling for a nationwide effort to comprehensively tackle the virus over a "critical three weeks", the country has entered the third week with no signs of the virus abating.

In fact, far from abating, the novel coronavirus continues to run rampant, according to official weekly statistics.

In the week ending on Sunday, Japan confirmed 17,694 new cases and 242 deaths, both of which were record highs.

In addition, the number of new cases per week topped the 10,000-mark for the first time in the seven days to November 15.

The number of new infections increased to about 14,000 by the end of the month, and by the week ending December 6, new cases hit 15,383.

Until the beginning of November, the number of deaths per week stood at about 50, rising to 71 in the week ending November 15 and 93 in the week ending November 22.

Covid-19 patients designated as being in a "serious condition" hit a record high of 583 in on Sunday, official figures showed.

These statistics have led to some medical officials now believing Japan is currently in the grip of a "third wave" of new infections.

Tokyo, the hardest hit by the virus among Japan's 47 prefectures with a cumulative total of 47,530 infections, confirmed 305 new cases on Monday.

This was down from 480 new coronavirus infections reported on Sunday, but this figure marked the highest on record for a Sunday.

On Monday, the western prefecture of Osaka reported 185 new cases, bringing its total caseload to 25,114 infections.

Aichi Prefecture, meanwhile, saw 114 new cases to total 12,834 infections, while Hokkaido, also hard hit by a recent spike in cases and cluster infections, reported 125 new cases of the virus to bring its cumulative total to 11,460 people infected.

Meanwhile, nurses from Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces were deployed to Hokkaido and began working on Wednesday as they will do next week in Osaka prefecture.

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