Japan's confirmed daily coronavirus cases on Thursday topped 46,000, setting a new record for the third consecutive day as the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has left the country struggling with what has become the "sixth wave" of infections.

Japan's cumulative total of COVID-19 cases has also topped 2 million since the government confirmed the nation's first COVID-19 case in January 2020.

On Thursday, Tokyo confirmed 8,638 daily coronavirus cases, eclipsing the previous record high of 7,377 registered Wednesday. The seven-day rolling average of new infections stood at 5,386.1 per day in the capital.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike attends a teleconference on the coronavirus pandemic with her counterparts in three neighboring prefectures -- Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba -- from the metropolitan government headquarters in Tokyo on Jan. 20, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

In an effort to curb the further spread of infections, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government decided Wednesday to expand a quasi-state of emergency to Tokyo and other regions.

Japan logged a cumulative total of over 1 million COVID-19 cases in August last year when it was reeling from the "fifth wave" of infections.

Although infection numbers started falling afterward with the progress in vaccination against the virus, there has been another surge in Japan since cases of community transmission of Omicron were confirmed in late December.

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