Japan’s COVID-19 death toll exceeds 5,000

TOKYO (XINHUA) – Japan’s COVID-19 death toll topped 5,000 yesterday as the country struggles to contain the resurgence of infections, according to the health ministry and local authorities.

As the number of infections continues to surge across the country, the pace of deaths
is accelerating.

The death toll from the virus surpassed 1,000 in July last year, and topped 2,000 after about four months in November. In late December, it passed 3,000 and in less than 20 days, it exceeded the 4,000 mark.

By prefectures, Osaka has the highest number of deaths with 812, followed by Tokyo’s 770 and Hokkaido’s 561.

The latest wave of infections has forced Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to declare a state of emergency in 11 of the country’s 47 prefectures, including Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, earlier in the month.

The government has asked people to stay home as much as possible, and restaurants to shorten business hours, although there is currently no penalty for those who do not comply with the requests.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the number of weekly infection cases in 10 prefectures has reached Stage 4, the worst level on the government’s four-point scale.