Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, the government announced.
According to the Cabinet Secretariat, Kishida developed symptoms such as a slight fever and cough on Saturday evening. The result of a PCR test underwent on Sunday confirmed that Kishida was infected with the novel coronavirus.
Kishida was due to restart work on Monday after taking a week-long summer vacation with his family. Kishida commenced working remotely Monday.
Government officials say Kishida has only been in close contact with his wife Yuko and other family members. The infection route remains unknown.
Japan reported 253,265 additional coronavirus cases Saturday, marking the third straight day of over 250,000 with no end in sight for the ongoing seventh wave of infections. Coronavirus cases among children remain high amid a seventh wave of infections in Japan.
Hospital bed occupancy rate is rising in Japan, said the country's public broadcaster NHK, citing government statistics that as of Monday, the COVID-19 bed use rate was 91 percent in Kanagawa Prefecture, 80 percent in Okinawa, Aichi and Shiga prefectures, and 70 percent in Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Shizuoka prefectures.
The Tokyo Metropolitan government announced on Monday that its COVID-19 bed occupancy rate was about a seemingly less serious of 60 percent. However, many local medical workers are infected or have become close contacts, resulting in a shortage of medical staff.
Masataka Inokuchi, vice chairman of the Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Association, said Monday that the rate of COVID-19 bed occupancy in Tokyo is "approaching its limit."
In addition, 14 medical institutions in Kyoto Prefecture, including the Kyoto University Hospital, issued a joint statement on Monday saying that the pandemic has reached a very serious level, and the COVID-19 beds in Kyoto Prefecture are essentially saturated. The statement warned that Kyoto Prefecture is in a state of medical collapse where "lives that could have been saved cannot be saved."
The statement also called on the public to avoid non-emergency and unnecessary travels and continue to be vigilant and take routine precautions, adding that infection with the novel coronavirus is "by no means a simple cold-like illness."