Only 0.1 percent of people in Tokyo tested positive for antibodies against the coronavirus, a survey conducted by the health ministry found Tuesday, indicating the spread of the virus in Japan's capital remains limited, even though the number of cases may be higher than those already found.

The survey involved 1,971 participants in Tokyo. By limiting testing for the virus, an approach said to help prevent the spread of the disease, Japanese authorities have left many wondering what the true infection rate in the country is. If the sample in Tokyo is representative of the general population, it would mean around 14,000 cases in the capital, compared to the more than 5,000 cases identified so far.

The antibody results, which indicate exposure to the virus, are far lower than those seen in the Western cities and countries that became hot spots in the global pandemic. A surveillance study carried out for the U.K. suggested 17 percent of residents in London had COVID-19 antibodies, based on results announced May 22, while on the same day in New York, antibody tests found 20 percent of the population was positive. Spain had a 5 percent positive rate in antibody tests conducted in May.