The latest wave of novel coronavirus infections in Japan shows no sign of slowing with the average number of fresh cases at medical institutions topping 20 for the first time since COVID-19 was downgraded as an infectious disease just like influenza. 

For the week between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3, there were a total of 101,289 new COVID-19 cases at 5,000 or so select medical institutions, according to figures released Sept. 8 by the health ministry. The average number of cases came to 20.50, marking the third straight week of an increase in the average.

By prefecture, Iwate in northern Japan had the highest average with 35.24, followed by two other northern prefectures, Miyagi with 32.54 and Akita with 30.61. Tokyo had an average of 17.01, while the averages were 24.7 in Aichi, 14.35 in Osaka and 15.31 in Fukuoka.

Thirty-seven prefectures recorded an increase in cases, including Okinawa which saw an approximately 1.39-fold increase.

The health ministry said there were 12,842 new COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals, a decrease of 1,130 patients from the previous week.

A daily average of 218 patients over the seven-day period displayed serious symptoms that required special breathing apparatus, a decrease of 10 patients over the previous week.

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