Asia Today | Tokyo’s daily infections top 600 for first time

TOKYO (AP) — The number of new coronavirus infections in Japan’s capital topped 600 in a day for the first time on Thursday, while experts warned of the increased burden on hospitals.

Tokyo reported 602 new cases, while the daily tally for the entire nation was 2,810. Japan has reported 168,573 infections since the pandemic began, with 2,465 deaths.

The surge in infections has placed an added burden on Tokyo’s hospitals, making it harder for many of them to carry out treatment for ordinary patients, said Masataka Inokuchi, who is on the city’s virus task force.

“They are not paralyzed yet, but the situation is getting very tight,” he said.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urged residents to avoid non-essential outings, especially senior citizens and their families. Tokyo has issued a request for drinking places to close early until Dec. 17.

In other developments in the region:

— India is reporting 31,521 newly confirmed coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, dropping to just over a third of the peak level seen in mid-September. India’s single-day cases have remained below 50,000 for more than a month. The Health Ministry also reported 412 deaths Thursday, raising India’s total fatalities to 141,772. The ministry said some coronavirus vaccines are likely to receive licenses in the next few weeks. It has outlined an initial plan to immunize 300 million people.

— South Korea has reported another new 682 cases of the coronavirus, as officials work to expand testing to slow transmissions. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Thursday that more than 500 of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, which has emerged as the center of a viral resurgence critics have blamed on decreased social distancing. Infections were also reported in major cities throughout the nation, including Busan, Ulsan and Daegu, which was the epicenter of the country’s previous outbreak in spring.

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