Japan sees COVID patients rising for 9th straight week

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - The average number of COVID-19 patients among designated hospitals across Japan has been rising for nine consecutive weeks since the coronavirus was downgraded to the same category as seasonal influenza in May, health ministry data showed Friday, Kyodo reports.

The average among the roughly 5,000 medical institutions stood at 11.04 in the week from July 10, according to the data, exceeding 10 for the first time since the reporting system was implemented in early May.

The total number of patients they reported was up over 20 percent from the previous week at 54,150.

Following the downgrade, the government stopped releasing the daily tally of new cases and now only releases the weekly number of patients reported from the designated institutions, as well as the average number of cases among the facilities.

Infections have been gradually increasing after the government eased countermeasures, raising concerns about what precautions should be taken to minimize cases this summer.

Shigeru Omi, the government's top coronavirus adviser, said late last month that Japan may have entered its ninth wave of COVID-19 infections, stressing the importance of protecting vulnerable elderly individuals from the disease.

The latest data showed an increase in patients in 43 of the country's 47 prefectures, with 30 prefectures reporting an average of more than 10 patients per medical institution.

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