Photo/Illutration Motorists form a line at a drive-through COVID-19 antigen test site in Nara on Aug. 18. (Makoto Ito)

Japan posted 261,004 new COVID-19 cases nationwide as of 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 19, topping the previous high for the second consecutive day.

The daily number of new cases is soaring to record-high levels, particularly in regions outside metropolitan areas.

Single-day records were set in at least 19 prefectures.

A record 8,632 new cases were reported in Hokkaido, 2,895 in Toyama Prefecture, 2,885 in Ishikawa Prefecture, 2,381 in Wakayama Prefecture and 4,611 in Nagasaki Prefecture.

These figures broke the previous highs for the regions for the second straight day.

The daily tally also hit a record 15,726 cases in Fukuoka Prefecture, 3,281 in Shiga Prefecture, 3,104 in Nara Prefecture, 2,766 in Kagawa Prefecture, 1,863 in Fukui Prefecture and 1,121 in Tottori Prefecture.

Eight other prefectures also reported record highs.

On Aug. 18, 21 prefectures reported their highest number of daily COVID-19 cases, which helped the nationwide tally hit a record 255,532 cases.