On Wednesday, Tokyo's new COVID-19 cases surpassed 20,000 for the first time, lowering hopes that an Omicron-fuelled wave of infections is peaking out in Japan.

Nationwide cases reached a new high of 91,760, while 18 prefectures recorded record highs. Tokyo reported 21,576 new cases, breaking the previous high of 17,631 in Japan's capital on Friday.

Tokyo has reserved about 7,000 hospital beds for COVID patients, and admissions have increased dramatically this month. The closely monitored usage of hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients increased to 51.4%.

Governor Yuriko Koike had previously said that a 50% bed occupancy would be the threshold for requesting an emergency declaration from the central government.

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However, she stated last week that such a request would not be automatic and that the decision will now be made based on the number of serious cases as well as other factors such as the opinions of health experts.

The capital and the majority of Japan are now under curbs to prevent the virus from spreading, with the most recent wave of infections fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. The current restrictions provide regional governors the power to order restaurants and bars to cut their hours and stop serving alcohol.

A full state of emergency, which Japan has not declared since September of last year, would involve harsher measures such as fines for non-compliant firms and attendance limits at sporting events and concerts.

Osaka's western prefecture recorded 11,171 new cases, down from a high of 11,881 on Tuesday.

Hirokazu Matsuno, Chief Cabinet Secretary, stated on Wednesday that the government does not plan to declare a state of emergency but will remain vigilant.