Japan hits fourth-straight record day of COVID-19 cases

Jan. 9 (UPI) — Japan reported a record number of single-day COVID-19 cases for the fourth-straight day Saturday.

The country reported 7,851 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to the health ministry. Japan surpassed the 7,000 milestone for single-day cases for the first time the prior day.

Seventy-five new COVID-19 related deaths were also reported on Friday.

On Friday, Tokyo’s emergency declaration went into effect requiring all restaurants to abide by an 8 p.m. curfew though critics said it was “too little, too late,” with thousands of cases being reported daily since New Year’s Day.

On Thursday, Japan reported 7,500 new cases nationwide with the greater Tokyo region being among the worst hit, according to CNN, surpassing 2,000 cases for the first time with 2,447 new infections.

Japan has reported 282,787 cases and 3,805 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University’s global tracker.

China has a low level of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to very high level areas in Japan, the United States, Brazil, the Bahamas and Central African Republic.

A Lancet study in October found that despite being the first hit by the pandemic, China has managed to control the pandemic rapidly and effectively. Among the measures taken to curb the spread were a centralized epidemic response system, a strict lockdown in Wuhan for 76 days where public transport was suspended and establishing thousands of health checkpoints at public transport hubs across the country.

With one city in north China’s Hebei province still reporting 14 new confirmed cases on Saturday, the city announced the suspension of all subway, bus and taxi service.

One of the individuals had gone to a wedding ceremony and another lives in a school dorm. Close contacts have been traced and placed under quarantine, according to media reports.

The 14 new cases in Shijiazhuang and 16 other asymptomatic cases in the province have brought the total number of cases since Jan. 2 to 334. The city on Friday required all local residents to go through a seven-day home quarantine after undertaking city-wide testing to screen for COVID-19 to be completed by Saturday.

Health officials plan to combat the surge in Hebei with the national immunization program.

A free inoculation drive resulted in 9 million people receiving vaccination, China said Saturday, adding that it will offer free vaccinations to the whole population.

China has reported 96,623 cases and 4,791 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the global tracker.

On Saturday, in Britain, a royal house doctor administered vaccinations to Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her husband, Prince Philip, 99, duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace confirmed. Though it’s not clear which vaccine they received on Friday, approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna was announced, following approval of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines last year.

The National Health Service said in a statement Friday all NHS workers will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine from mid-January to curb COVID-19 spread.

Britain has reported more than 3 million cases and 81,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the global tracker.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected over 89.2 million people and killed over 1.9 million people, the same tracker shows.

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