The number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms in Tokyo rose to a record 176 on Tuesday, the Tokyo metropolitan government said, as the capital struggles to contain the resurgence driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.

It well exceeded the previous record of 160 on Jan. 20. Of the 176 patients, 70 percent were people in their 50s or younger, age groups facing a slow vaccination drive.

Nurses take care of a COVID-19 patient with severe symptoms inside an enclosed room at Tokyo's Juntendo University Hospital on Aug. 6, 2021, with the virus remaining rampant in the capital. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"This is a problem about lives at stake and various countermeasures are required," Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters.

Daily new coronavirus cases in the capital totaled 2,612 on Tuesday after topping 4,000 cases for five consecutive days through Sunday when the Tokyo Olympics ended.

Tokyo's seven-day rolling average of new infections was 3,978.7 per day, up 19.2 percent from a week earlier.

The latest tally comes after Tokyo saw 2,884 new cases on the previous day, the highest for a Monday.

Separate data by the central government showed a total of 84 coronavirus patients recuperating at home died in the first six months of the year.

The government recently changed its policy on COVID-19 patient treatment, only allowing people with severe symptoms to be hospitalized to prevent a hospital bed shortage.