Tokyo reported 783 new coronavirus infections on the first day of the new year Friday, with the Japanese capital continuing to see a high increase in cases amid growing concerns about the medical system.
The figure comes a day after Tokyo logged a record 1,337 new infections, exceeding the 1,000 mark for the first time since the pandemic began. The capital's cumulative total now stands at 60,960 cases with 631 deaths.
A metropolitan government official said that the daily increases remain high even during the holidays and urged the public not to become complacent about the virus.
Nationwide, over 3,200 new recent cases were reported Friday, with the number of COVID-19 patients showing serious symptoms rising 35 from the previous day to the highest ever of 716, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Health care experts at the Tokyo metropolitan government's pandemic response meeting on Wednesday warned that the capital could run out of hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients if the recent pace of infections continued.
In mid-December, Tokyo raised its alert regarding the strain on its medical system to the highest of four levels, the first time the capital has done so since the virus outbreak.
In the past week, several people in Japan have also tested positive for new variants of the COVID-19 virus, first detected in Britain and South Africa.
The discovery of the new strains, said to be more transmissible than the original virus, has spurred the government to stop issuing new visas and curb entries from most countries into Japan.