The percentage of occupied hospital beds reserved for coronavirus patients rose in 39 of Japan's 47 prefectures in the week ended July 29, with bed occupancy rates over 30 percent in eight prefectures, government data showed Monday, raising fears the medical system may soon become overwhelmed amid a resurgence of infections.
The study by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare found that the number of occupied beds across the country stood at 4,034 as of July 29, increasing by 1,290 from the week prior.
The recent growing strain on the country's health care system comes as a time the government remains cautious about putting stricter restrictions on economic activities.
By prefecture, Osaka led the pack with 42.5 percent of its beds reserved for COVID-19 patients occupied. It was followed by Saitama at 40.4 percent, Aichi at 39 percent and Tokyo at 37.9 percent.
The remarks came as the government struggles to balance the need to reopen the economy while keeping the spread of the coronavirus in check.
Japan has seen more than 39,000 cases of coronavirus infections as of Sunday, including 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February. The tally has been increasing by a thousand or more every day since Wednesday.
Tokyo confirmed a total of 6,466 cases in July, the highest level for any month.
On Monday, it reported 258 new cases, marking a second day below the record-breaking numbers registered late last week.
The capital logged 292 cases on Sunday, and a record daily increase of 472 on Saturday.
The daily figures announced by the metropolitan government reflect the most recent totals reported by health authorities and medical institutions in the capital.
Tokyo has requested that karaoke venues and establishments serving alcohol close by 10 p.m., effective from Monday through the end of August, to mitigate the spread of the virus.
It plans to pay 200,000 yen ($1,900) to each business abiding by virus-prevention guidelines.
The metropolitan government has raised its alert for the pandemic to the highest of four levels, meaning "infections are spreading," with Gov. Yuriko Koike warning Tokyo city authorities may declare an emergency.