Japan reports a record 489 COVID-linked deaths on Thursday

Japan's health ministry says it confirmed 489 deaths linked to COVID-19 on Thursday -- the highest daily tally since the pandemic began.

The previous record of 463 deaths was marked last Saturday.

By prefecture, Fukuoka had 45 deaths on Thursday, followed by Osaka, with 31, and Tokyo, with 29.

The ministry says the number of severely ill COVID patients stands at 697, an increase of 32 from Wednesday.

Officials also confirmed 185,472 new cases of the coronavirus nationwide on Thursday.