Japan's First Virus Case Confirmed One Year Ago

Japan's first virus case confirmed one year ago

Friday marks one year since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Japan. But the outbreak shows no sign of abating.

More than 6,600 new daily cases were reported across Japan on Thursday. The overall death toll has exceeded 4,300.

A Chinese man in his 30s, a resident of Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, was the first known case of the new coronavirus in Japan.

The man was diagnosed with pneumonia after visiting the Chinese city of Wuhan, where there was an outbreak of the virus.

The number of infections gradually began to rise in Japan. In April, when the government declared a state of emergency for the first time, daily new infections topped 700.

The daily number of cases fell below 100 at one point in May, but exceeded 1,000 for the first time in late July. Infections began to soar again in November.

A record daily tally of 7,882 new cases was reported last Friday. Thursday saw 6,605.

Earlier this month, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency for the second time. Eleven prefectures are now covered by the declaration. But the outbreak shows no sign of subsiding.

As of Thursday, a total of 311,353 cases had been confirmed across Japan. The overall death toll has risen to 4,353.

Variants of the virus have recently been discovered in Japan. The cases include a new strain first detected in Britain that is reported to be highly infectious. Other variants were found in travelers arriving from South Africa and Brazil.

The government has effectively suspended the entry of all foreigners into Japan.