Photo/Illutration Personnel at a metropolitan hospital in Tokyo's Fuchu that caters exclusively to treating COVID-19 show reporters how staff are trained to accept patients infected with the virus on Dec. 2. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Japan’s cumulative total of COVID-19 cases hit a somber milestone on Dec. 20, topping 200,000 after adding 2,496 new cases as of 8 p.m.

The Asahi Shimbun tallied the number of infections that each prefecture has announced since the outbreak began.

The cumulative number includes passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who contracted the virus when a large cluster infection broke out onboard while it was docked under quarantine at Yokohama Port earlier this year.

Japan confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus on Jan. 15. On Oct. 29, nine and half months later, the nation's total cases topped 100,000.

The number of infected patients has spiked since then due to the third wave of the virus, resulting in an increase of 100,000 cases in the last 52 days.

On Dec. 20, the number of new cases continued to remain high in major metropolitan areas, with Tokyo confirming 556 new cases, Osaka Prefecture 250 and Kanagawa Prefecture 239.

Fukushima Prefecture on Dec. 20 added 40 new cases and Okayama Prefecture added 111, both record highs in the prefectures.

Japan confirmed 36 new deaths from the virus, including six patients in Osaka Prefecture and five in Hokkaido, bringing the nation's total death toll to date to more than 2,900.