Osaka marks highest cases yet

Japan is reassessing efforts to tackle the renewed spread of the coronavirus, after three hard-hit prefectures rolled out stricter measures.

GPS data suggests more people in Osaka are staying home. But, officials there continue to report the nation's highest counts. It saw 719 cases on Tuesday, breaking a daily record.

Osaka Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi told reporters "the case count and the number of people in serious condition, we believe the lack of hospital beds is at a very severe level."

Yoshimura said the bed occupancy rate could soon reach 70 percent. If that happens, the prefecture would need to declare a medical emergency.

Across Japan, more than 2,600 new cases were reported on Tuesday, including 399 in Tokyo.

Nishimura Yasutoshi is the minister in charge of the coronavirus response. He says the government may need to apply intensive measures in places like Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa, where cases are high. He said, "We are on high alert as infections are spreading across the country. We plan to prioritize preventative measures in a flexible manner."

Less than one percent of the population has been vaccinated. Japan is set to begin inoculating the elderly next week.