Tokyo hits record 10,000 COVID cases, Japan over 50,000 for first time

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TOKYO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Tokyo recorded its fourth record number of daily COVID-19 infections on Saturday, breaking above 10,000, while Japan's exceeded 50,000 for the first time as the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly.

The capital had 11,227 new coronavirus cases, the local government said a day after it reinstated curbs on mobility and business activity through Feb. 13.

Tokyo's case count, exceeding Friday's 9,699, were more than double the 4,561 logged a week earlier.

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Three people in Tokyo died of COVID-19 and 12 were in serious condition on Saturday, the Tokyo government said.

Some 34.3% of hospital beds in the capital were being used by coronavirus patients. A rise in the occupancy rate to 50% would warrant a state of emergency with more severe restrictions, local officials have said.

Osaka prefecture announced 7,375 infections, a second consecutive record, and two deaths.

Infections nationwide totalled at least 50,200 as nearly 30 of Japan's 47 prefectures set records, broadcaster FNN reported.

As of Friday, 78.7% of Japan's population had been fully vaccinated, but only 1.5% had received a booster shot, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

The health ministry on Friday approved the use of the Pfizer (PFE.N) vaccine for children aged five to 11 in an effort to ramp up the vaccination rate.

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Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and William Mallard

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