Japan's daily cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday topped 3,000 for the second day in a row as fears over the impact of the sharp rebound on the country's medical system and the economy continue to intensify.
Osaka confirmed 905 new cases of the virus, setting an all-time high for the third straight day, as the western Japan prefecture has come under a medical state of emergency.
With the number of infections rapidly rebounding in many other parts, not just in and around Osaka and Tokyo, which reported 545 additional cases on the same day, the government is considering expanding areas covered by a quasi-state of emergency to enable local authorities to toughen anti-virus measures.
The prefectures of Osaka, neighboring Hyogo and Miyagi in the northeast, were designated on Monday as being on the brink of a state of emergency, as they have been hit by a rapid increase in infections.
Following a request from the Tokyo metropolitan government, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's administration plans to designate the same status to the capital.
Kyoto Gov. Takatoshi Nishiwaki also told a press conference on Thursday that he will request the central government to add the prefecture to the list.
The central government plans to hold a coronavirus task force meeting Friday to formally decide to designate Tokyo and discuss whether to add Saitama and Kyoto prefectures
The nationwide tally of daily infections hit 3,451 on Wednesday, the highest since Jan. 30, when the country's second state of emergency was in place in 11 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka.