All national dailies wrote that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government decided at its monitoring meeting on Thursday to raise its COVID-19 alert to the second highest of four levels amid a continuous rise in coronavirus infections in the country. Experts warned at the meeting that the virus is spreading again. On Thursday, Tokyo reported 3,621 new daily cases, up about 1,200 from a week ago. The nationwide tally, meanwhile, stood at 23,448 cases, up about 6,700 from the week earlier. The highly contagious BA.5 strain of the Omicron variant is replacing the BA.2 subvariant in Tokyo as suspected cases of BA.5 account for about 25% of new infections.