Experts advising the Japanese government say coronavirus infections may have peaked nationwide, but that vigilance is required due to the risk of a resurgence.
A panel of experts met on Friday to assess the latest data on the number of people who developed symptoms of COVID-19 daily.
The number peaked during a period from July 27 to 29 nationwide, and the figure has since been on a gradual decline.
Prefecture-based data also shows that infections may have peaked in late July in Tokyo, Osaka and Aichi, and decreased through mid-August in Fukuoka and Okinawa.
However, experts warned of the risk of another flare-up, due to a lack of data from the Bon summer holidays in mid-August. They also pointed out that infections appear to have become static at peak levels in some regions.
The experts said the late stage of the first wave of outbreak from March to May saw a growth in cases at elderly care facilities and hospitals. They also noted that the number of seriously ill patients is now rising in several prefectures, including Osaka and Okinawa.
After the meeting, Tohoku University Professor Oshitani Hitoshi told reporters that a mass group infection could again cause the virus to spread.
He said contagion at elderly care facilities and hospitals could produce more seriously ill patients and deaths.
Oshitani added that a peak in infections must be treated separately from the growth in serious cases, as well as the burden on medical institutions.