• STAFF REPORT, KYODO

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 188 new cases of COVID-19 infection Tuesday, holding below the 200 mark for a second straight day, while several other prefectures also reported a decline in infections from recent highs amid a heat wave in the middle of the Bon summer holiday period.

The figure, which marked a decline from the 197 cases reported the previous day, brought the city’s total infections to 16,252. The metropolitan government has raised its alert for the pandemic to the highest of four levels, meaning “infections are spreading.”

Tokyo reported daily infections of more than 300 for a fourth straight day on Sunday. The metropolitan government last week urged Tokyoites to avoid returning to their hometowns during the holidays.

Traditionally many people in urban areas return to their rural hometowns during Bon but a substantial number of them are refraining from making the trips to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Elsewhere in the nation, Aichi Prefecture reported 67 new cases, its daily total dropping below 100 for the first time in 15 days. Osaka Prefecture confirmed 102 new cases, 21 cases fewer than the previous day, while Fukuoka and Hyogo prefectures reported 54 and 30 cases, respectively.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the economic revitalization minister and the leader of Japan’s response to the coronavirus, said Tuesday that people in Okinawa Prefecture, which has been reporting a sharp rise in new infections recently, should be on alert. The prefecture confirmed around 65 new cases Tuesday, which would be higher than the 52 recorded a day earlier, local reports said.

The cumulative total of COVID-19 infections in Japan surpassed 50,000 on Monday, only a week after the tally hit 40,000, as a number of cluster infections have been reported recently nationwide.

Ninety-one people at a high school in Shimane Prefecture have tested positive in recent days in a cluster outbreak centered on the boys’ soccer team, according to local authorities.

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