Tokyo, Dec 26 (efe-epa).- Authorities in Tokyo on Saturday reported a record 949 Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours a day after Japan’s health ministry confirmed the first cases of a United Kingdom-linked variant of the coronavirus in the country.
Nationwide there were 3,831 new Covid-19 infections in the Asian country, bringing the overall total since the pandemic began to 215,800 cases. There have been a total of 3,193 Covid-related deaths in Japan.
The capital region of Tokyo is the worst-hit and has logged more than 54,900 infections overall.
It remains on the highest coronavirus alert level due to a sustained rise in hospitalizations.
The number of seriously ill patients in the capital as of Saturday was 81, the highest since the country lifted its state of emergency in spring.
As well as facing a third wave of the virus, Japan has also detected five cases of the new variant of coronavirus first detected in southern England, according to the health ministry Friday.
Five passengers who arrived from the UK between 18-21 December are confirmed to have been infected by the mutated virus, according to retrospective analysis.
The patients were all asymptomatic and have gone into isolation.
Japan on Thursday halted international air travel from the UK as a precautionary measure, although Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter the country.
Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga has called on citizens to heed health and safety protocol as families get ready to meet for New Year celebrations. EFE-EPA