Photo/Illutration An electronic billboard in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on May 4 carries footage of Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike stating, “Now is the critical time to determine whether the novel coronavirus will spread explosively or not.” (Naoko Kawamura)

Health authorities reported 178 new COVID-19 infection cases across the nation on May 4, bringing the overall tally to 15,261 as of 10 p.m. Twenty new deaths were confirmed nationwide, raising the total to 556.

In Kanagawa Prefecture close to Tokyo, a police inspector in his 60s died of complications from the novel coronavirus at a hospital on May 3, the first such case involving a police officer. The man worked at the security section of Fujisawa-Kita Police Station, having been re-employed after he reached the mandatory retirement age of 60.

Hokkaido recorded 31 new infection cases, a level that has remained constant in recent days. Of those cases, Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital, marked a record high 29 new cases in a single day. Total deaths in the northernmost main island reached 43.

Tokyo saw 87 new infection cases, staying below 100 for two consecutive days. Group infections were reported at hospitals and nursing homes.

The Tokyo Shinjuku Medical Center in Shinjuku Ward confirmed 24 infection cases, including 13 hospitalized patients. Johsai Hospital in Suginami Ward had six confirmed cases. A special elderly nursing home Kitasuna Home in Koto Ward recorded two infection cases.