New coronavirus cases among the elderly are increasing while those with severe symptoms and deaths are also on the rise, an advisory panel of experts to the health ministry said Thursday, as Japan braces for its eighth wave of infections.

Nationwide infections reported in the week through Wednesday were 1.24 times higher than the previous week, with 46 out of the country's 47 prefectures marking a rise during the period, the ministry reported at a meeting of the experts.

"There is a possibility that this will lead to the so-called eighth wave," Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato told the meeting.

The country's daily coronavirus cases totaled 92,788 on Thursday, according to prefectural governments, up about 15,000 from a week earlier. The number of deaths totaled 87.

The national tally topped the 100,000 mark the two previous days, the highest level in two months.

On Thursday, Tokyo logged 9,755 new cases, while the northernmost main island of Hokkaido confirmed 9,536 and Kanagawa Prefecture near the capital reported 6,128.

The seven-day rolling average of Tokyo's new infections stands at 8,276, up 24.7 percent from the previous week.

Across the country, those with severe symptoms totaled 258, down from the previous day's 263, according to the ministry.

The Japan Medical Association said Wednesday the country has entered the eighth wave of the pandemic, and it asked people to refrain from "high-risk behavior" to prevent the spread of the virus.

The resurgence of the virus comes after the Japanese government last month removed its cap on daily foreign arrivals and its ban on individual travelers and non-prearranged trips. It also started a subsidy program for residents to boost domestic tourism.

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