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TOKYO: Japan's western prefecture of Osaka will record about 6,000 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the Kyodo news agency said, far surpassing the previous all-time high of 3,760 set on the weekend.

The numbers of new cases in the capital, Tokyo, are also nearing records, in a resurgence driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant that has pushed Japan's new cases to the vicinity of records, with more than 25,000 in recent days.

The governors of Tokyo and surrounding prefectures agreed this week to ask the central government for infection-fighting measures, such as shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants.

Japan's Okinawa sees doubling of COVID-19 cases, considers emergency steps

Ten prefectures have made such requests, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Tuesday. An official decision on the quasi-emergency measures, as they are called, is likely to be made on Friday.

That would follow this month's curbs in three regions hosting US military facilities, after it appeared that base outbreaks of Omicron spilled into surrounding communities.

Tokyo's occupancy rate of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients rose to 21.1% on Monday, crossing a key threshold for additional pandemic measures. An increase to 50% would warrant declaration of a full state of emergency.

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