TOKYO - Japan's cumulative total of confirmed coronavirus cases topped 300,000 on Wednesday, the day the country expanded a state of emergency it declared for the Tokyo metropolitan area last week to several more prefectures.
The total number of cases has increased by 100,000 in about three weeks. Tokyo, which has been under a second state of emergency since Friday alongside the neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, logged 1,433 additional virus cases, bringing its cumulative total to 78,566.
In addition to Tokyo, which confirmed a record 2,447 new infections on Jan. 7, other prefectures that have huge urban populations, including Osaka and Aichi, have similarly been struggling amid a sudden rise in numbers since the start of the year.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday declared seven additional prefectures to be under a state of emergency.
Osaka confirmed 536 daily infections, while Aichi logged 319 new cases.
Coronavirus deaths across the country surpassed 4,000 as of Jan. 9, with as many as 70 deaths seen per day. Those suffering from serious symptoms hit a record 900, up 19 from the previous day.
The surge has been increasing the strain on the country's medical system, with some hospitals already being forced to turn patients away.
According to a Kyodo News tally, the nationwide cumulative total surpassed 100,000 on Oct. 29 and reached 200,000 nearly two months later on Dec. 21.
Japan has also confirmed coronavirus variants discovered in Britain and South Africa, with infections expected to increase at an even greater rate if they spread throughout the country.