Weekly case figures show COVID-19 slightly up in Japan since April

Japan's health ministry says COVID-19 infections in the country appear to have gradually risen since last month, according to a new statistical method introduced with the downgrading of the disease.

On May 8, the government officially reclassified COVID-19 as a low-level infectious disease on the same as seasonal influenza.

Instead of requiring reports on the daily number of coronavirus cases nationwide, the government has begun collecting weekly reports from about 5,000 designated medical institutions.

The ministry said the institutions reported a total of 12,922 new cases for the week-long period that ended on May 14. This means each institution identified 2.63 coronavirus cases on average during the week.

To determine whether the trend of infections is rising or falling, the ministry has used the current method to calculate the weekly number of cases from last October through May 7, the day before COVID-19 was downgraded.

The ministry says the latest weekly number of cases was 1.46 times the figure for the previous week.

It says the figure has risen weekly for six consecutive weeks.