• Kyodo, staff report


Tokyo on Monday confirmed 119 new coronavirus infections, falling below 200 for the first time in five days, Gov. Yuriko Koike said.

The latest figure comes a day after the capital confirmed 206 coronavirus cases, breaching 200 for a record fourth straight day, including the largest single-day tally of 243 on Friday, amid increasing concerns among the public about a resurgence of the pandemic.

The daily figures announced by the metropolitan government reflect the most recent totals reported by health authorities and medical institutions in the capital.

Koike shrugged off a view by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga that increasing infections are a problem peculiar to Tokyo, saying the trend reflects the increasing number of tests for the virus being carried out in the capital compared with other prefectures.

Recently, Tokyo has been conducting more than 3,000 virus tests a day, far more than about 1,000 in April. Meanwhile, 100 to 200 are being carried out in some other prefectures such as Kanagawa and Saitama.

Koike said the metropolitan government will look into cluster infections at a theater in the capital after 30 people were reported as testing positive for the virus in less than one week.

The government relaxed its guidance for spectators at concerts and other events to a maximum of 5,000 from the previous 1,000, while capacity at indoor venues must be kept at 50 percent or below the usual level.

As the number of new cases in Tokyo remains relatively high, some other prefectures are warning residents to avoid nonessential trips to the city.

In Aichi Prefecture, six new cases have been reported since the start of July. The prefecture found all of the infected had traveled to or from Tokyo and its neighboring areas or had contact with someone infected in these areas, Gov. Hideaki Omura said.

"I'd like the people in the prefecture to act appropriately," he said, asking for residents to hold off making any nonessential trips to Tokyo.

Koike has also asked people in Tokyo to refrain from traveling to other prefectures.

She was critical of the central government's subsidy campaign aimed at boosting domestic tourism starting on July 22 amid the growing number of new cases.

"It is like putting cooling and heating systems on at the same time. I'm not sure how we are supposed to deal with that," she said as new cases in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures continue to increase.

The number of nationwide infections has been on the rise, tracking the increase in Tokyo cases. Suga reiterated at a news conference Monday that the central government is looking to strike a balance between implementing measures to prevent further spread of the virus and promoting increased economic activity.

With Monday's tally, Tokyo's cumulative total reached 8,046.

None of those confirmed cases in recent days were in serious condition, with roughly 70 percent in their 30s or younger, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

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