Japan sees surge in serious COVID-19 cases

Daily coronavirus case numbers in Tokyo continue to decline, but the number of serious cases remains high.

Officials confirmed 1,915 new infections on Monday. It's the first time in over a month the figure dropped below 2,000. Week-on-week tallies have gone down for eight straight days.

But hospitals remain under strain, with nearly 300 patients in serious condition.

Many facilities aren't used to these sorts of cases. So a group of doctors, with expertise in using machines to help people who can't breathe normally, are providing assistance.

Some visited a hospital in central Tokyo on Monday to help put a patient on a ventilator.

Imamura Akifumi, a doctor at the hospital, said, " Usually we don't handle cases that require intensive care, so we lack expertise. We really appreciate their advice as colleagues."

The experts say Sunday was the worst day yet with more than 900 patients across Japan relying on machines.

The government hopes vaccinations will help ease the burden on hospitals. More than 55 percent of the population has received at least one jab.

Nearly half the country remains under a state of emergency. While less strict than a lockdown, the declaration limits the scope of major events. The government also urges bars and restaurants not to serve alcohol.

But there's evidence a festival in Aichi shirked the rules. Video of a recent event showed crowds of people without masks cheering.

The prefecture received reports the government-run venue was also selling alcoholic drinks.

Across Japan, authorities confirmed more than 13,000 new cases and 46 deaths.