Tokyo broke another pandemic record Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, recording its highest daily count of new coronavirus infections.

Tokyo broke another pandemic record Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, recording its highest daily count of new coronavirus infections. (Akifumi Ishikawa/Stars and Stripes)

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TOKYO — Japan’s capital city broke another pandemic record Wednesday, recording its highest daily count of new coronavirus infections.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military in Japan announced 13 new cases as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 678 newly infected individuals, exceeding the previous high of 621 reached Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK. Nearly 48,000 people have acquired the virus in Tokyo during the pandemic, most of whom recovered. About 550 people have died as a result of the coronavirus, according to metro data.

More than 500 people, on average, were infected every day the past week in the city of 13.5 million, according to that data.

The positivity rate remains comparatively high at greater than 6%, meaning that percentage of everyone tested has the virus.

Japan on Wednesday reported 2,441 new coronavirus cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Sasebo Naval Base, on the southern island of Kyushu, discovered 10 new coronavirus patients over the past two days during medical screenings, according to a base Facebook post Wednesday. That’s the highest one-day total at the base, and as many patients there in September, October and November combined.

Sasebo has reported 16 cases this month and has 14 coronavirus patients still in its care.

U.S. Army Japan reported two people on Okinawa tested positive for the coronavirus, both already in quarantine as close contacts of a previously identified patient. One has been quarantined since Dec. 1 and tested positive Monday; the other has been quarantined since Dec. 3 and tested positive Tuesday, according to an Army news release.

The Army has reported 14 coronavirus cases so far this month.

The Marines had one new patient at Camp Hansen but provided no further information in a Facebook post by Marine Corps Installations Pacific. This month, the Marines have reported 35 individuals infected with the virus on Okinawa.

Okinawa prefecture, where the bulk of U.S. forces are stationed, had 36 new coronavirus patients on Wednesday, a prefectural health official told Stars and Stripes. The prefecture has had 4,880 individuals infected during the pandemic; 77 died.

So far this month, Okinawa has had 557 cases and eight deaths.

Stars and Stripes reporter Aya Ichihashi contributed to this report. Twitter: @JosephDitzler

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Joseph Ditzler is a Marine Corps veteran and the Pacific editor for Stars and Stripes. He’s a native of Pennsylvania and has written for newspapers and websites in Alaska, California, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. He studied journalism at Penn State and international relations at the University of Oklahoma.

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