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Japan Reaches 1,000 Daily COVID-19 Cases for 1st Time

A restaurant employee wearing a protective face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus offer a joss sticks on a huge incense burner in the Asakusa district in Tokyo, July 27, 2020.

Japan confirmed Wednesday a new daily record for COVID-19 infections, topping more than 1,000 cases for the first time since the pandemic began.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reports the daily total surpasses 1,200 cases, but the exact number of new cases could not be verified.

The record single-day number of cases was based on information given by local authorities and came as after districts with huge urban populations other than Tokyo, including Aichi and Osaka, reported their highest numbers of infections.

Officials in the western prefecture of Osaka reported 221, the first time the daily infection figure has surpassed 200.

Osaka Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi said, "Considering the positive rate in virus tests is as high as 10 percent, I think the number of infections will increase further."

The central prefecture of Aichi reported 167 infections. Okinawa, in the south, registered a record figure for the third day in a row. The number is relatively low at 44 -- but it's more than double Tuesday's daily tally. Figures do not include cases linked to U.S. military bases in the prefecture.

Out of Japan's 47 prefectures, Iwate was the only one that had no confirmed infections. But that changed on Wednesday when it reported two cases.

At a Tokyo news conference earlier in the day, Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said some prefectures are facing a shortage of accommodations, such as hotels, to house and treat patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19. He said the government was prepared to help districts that need it.

Suga also blamed the recent surges on “clusters” of infections -- groups of people all getting infected in one location or situation because they were not maintaining social distancing. He said as of Tuesday, 550 such clusters had been identified nationwide.