Tokyo confirmed 5,302 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, more than double the level the week before and exceeding the 5,000 mark for the first time since April 28.
Across Japan, a total of 36,189 new coronavirus cases were recorded, more than an 80 percent increase from a week earlier, with each of the country's 47 prefectures seeing higher case counts. The last time the nation saw an excess of 30,000 new daily cases was May 26.
In Tokyo, the seven-day rolling average of new cases stood at 3,778.3 per day, up 74.9 percent from Tuesday last week, according to the metropolitan government.
"The pace of increase in new cases is accelerating, and the number of hospitalized patients has more than doubled in half a month," a metropolitan government official said, expressing alarm at the development.
Last Thursday, the Tokyo government raised the COVID-19 alert level by a notch to the second-highest on its four-level scale in response to a rise in infections for two consecutive weeks.
Meanwhile, Osaka Prefecture in western Japan reported 4,523 daily cases on Tuesday, about double the level a week earlier.
In Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, where new cases had increased by about 80 percent from the week before to 2,481, Gov. Hideaki Omura described the surge as "not a rebound, but clearly the onslaught of a seventh wave."
"Cases are increasing in a surprising manner," Omura told a news conference, calling on the public to take a booster vaccine shot if they have not done so while at the same time taking steps to avoid infections.
The worrisome trend has prompted talk within the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that the rollout of a nationwide travel subsidy program, planned for early July, should probably be postponed.
The new subsidy campaign would be a nationwide version of subsidy programs currently implemented at the prefectural level to encourage local travel among residents.
Under the new campaign, up to 11,000 yen ($81) would be provided to each traveler per day in the form of discounts and coupons to go toward paying for travel and other expenses, such as dining and shopping.
In mid-June, Kishida said the campaign would begin in the first half of July, provided the infection situation had improved. The transport ministry has said it wants to start the program sometime in early July.
But given the risk that a premature start to the campaign could direct criticism toward the Kishida government, sources at the Prime Minister's Office expressed skepticism about starting it as planned. "It's impossible under the current circumstances," one of the sources said.