As the world’s COVID-19 cases are sharply increasing with the BA.5 variant, Japan hit the new highest record of over 200,000 cases per day.
According to NHK, Japan’s new daily COVID-19 cases recorded 200,975 on Saturday. Tokyo and 17 prefectures produced the highest number of daily cases on the day. The number of patients with severe symptoms in the country rose sharply from 12 on Friday to 203 on Saturday. Japan’s daily new cases hit the highest recorded with over 110,000 cases on July 16 and slowed down for a while before reaching the new high with over 150,000 cases on Wednesday. Since then, the country has produced increasing numbers of new daily cases for four days in a row.
Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Hirokazu Matsuno was also diagnosed positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. He did not have close contact with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan announced that the country would administer improved COVID-19 vaccines that are effective against the Omicron variants in the fall this year to slow down infections.
The U.S. has also been recording over 120,000 cases per day for a week. About 75 to 80 percent of new patients have the BA.5 variant. According to the New York Times, the weekly average of new daily cases was 127,569 as of Friday, which is about 18 percent higher than two weeks ago. The number of hospitalized patients also increased 17 percent from two weeks ago to 42,710.
Nikkei Asia reported that China might lock down the country for one-fifth of its population due to the spread of the BA.5 variant after a high level of lockdown to control the Omicron variant earlier this year. According to the media company, the Chinese authorities are expected to lock down completely or partially 41 cities starting Monday. Those cities subject to this measure are populated by 264 million people. The number of new daily cases in China reached 880 on Thursday. The Chinese health authorities said that the biggest cause of an increase in new cases is the low effectiveness of Chinese vaccines against Omicron subvariants.