Photo/Illutration Far fewer pedestrians out and about on the Nakamise shopping street in Tokyo’s Asakusa district on Jan. 17, compared to levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic (Noriyasu Nukui)

Tokyo confirmed 12 new serious COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to a record high 155 on Jan. 19, when the number of new infections exceeded 1,000 for the seventh straight day, officials said.

The capital reported 1,240 new COVID-19 cases, as cluster infections continued to spread in neighboring prefectures that are also under a state of emergency for the pandemic.

Saitama Prefecture said on Jan. 18 that a total of 313 staff members and patients have tested positive for the novel coronavirus so far at Todachuo General Hospital in Toda. The prefectural government believes this represents one of the biggest infection clusters to hit a medical institution in Japan.

In Kanagawa Prefecture, 88 staff members and inmates at a prison in Yokohama were confirmed infected as of Jan. 18.

The latest number of new cases in Tokyo was up from 1,204 reported the previous day, when those in serious condition increased by five.

Tokyo defines serious cases as those requiring ventilators or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, also known as an ECMO lung bypass machine.