Photo/Illutration Commuters at Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station on May 8 when COVID-19 was downgraded as an infectious disease (Jin Nishioka)

COVID-19 cases are continuing to creep up around the nation, according to health ministry figures for the week of May 29 through June 4.

On June 9, the ministry released the number of cases reported at 5,000 select medical institutions nationwide. The total came to 22,432.

The average number of patients per medical institution was 4.55, up from the 3.63 average of the previous week.

Motoi Suzuki, director for the Infectious Disease Surveillance Center of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, noted that numbers were not at the level of the eighth wave of COVID-19 infections from autumn 2022.

However, he cautioned there was “an increasing trend around the nation” and said “attention should focus on Okinawa Prefecture, where the figure is approaching that during the epidemic.”

Okinawa Prefecture had the highest figure of the 47 prefectures with 15.8 patients per medical institution, a 1.53-fold increase over the previous week.

The number of COVID-19 patients newly hospitalized between May 29 and June 4 was 4,003, a 1.2-fold increase over the previous week. There were 61 patients on average over the week with serious symptoms, up from 58 previously.

The health ministry moved to weekly announcements of COVID-19 cases instead of daily tallies from May 8.