Japan recorded a surge in new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with infections reaching four-month highs in the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka as the Omicron variant spreads.
New cases totalled 2,198 in the capital of Tokyo, while the western prefecture of Osaka recorded 1,711, nearly tripling from the day before. Those marked the highest levels since early September.
COVID-19 cases across Japan will exceed 10,000 on Wednesday, according to a tally by broadcaster TBS. That tally would be the highest number of infections in Japan in a single day since September 9.
"We must brace for the rapid spread of infections to continue," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters, noting that the Omicron variant had been discovered in most regions of the country.
On Sunday, Japan stepped up coronavirus restrictions in three regions that host US military facilities, after it appeared that Omicron outbreaks at the bases spilled into the surrounding communities.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday that Japan will maintain strict border restrictions through February to slow the spread of Omicron.
More from International
At least 41 killed in Egypt church fire
At least 41 people were killed and 45 injured in a fire inside a church in the Egyptian city of Giza on Sunday.
Fireworks explode in Armenian mall
Blasts ripped through a fireworks warehouse in a shopping mall in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Sunday, killing one and injuring at least 45 people, Russian news agencies cited the Armenian emergencies ministry as saying.
US lawmakers touch down in Taiwan
A U.S. lawmaker delegation arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for a two-day visit during which they will meet President Tsai Ing-wen, the second high-level group to come amid continued military tensions with the island's giant neighbour China.
Man arrested following gunshots at Canberra airport
Australian capital Canberra's airport was evacuated and a man arrested after gunshots were heard in the main terminal building, police said on Sunday.
Ukraine targets soldiers threatening nuclear plant
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned Russian soldiers who shoot at Europe's largest nuclear power station or use it as a base to shoot from that they will become a "special target" for Ukrainian forces.