• STAFF REPORT, KYODO

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 161 coronavirus infections Monday, marking the lowest figure since July 27, but the start of the new work week following the Bon summer holidays has rekindled worries over a rise in fresh infections across the country in the coming days.

The figure, which compared with 260 cases a day earlier, pushed the cumulative tally in the capital to 17,875, with 340 deaths and 25 in serious condition. Monday's results came after 2,780 tests were conducted Friday.

The metropolitan government has raised its alert for the pandemic to the highest of four levels, meaning infections are spreading. Karaoke venues and drinking establishments that serve alcohol are also being asked to close by 10 p.m. until the end of this month.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday that the number of Tokyoites in the metropolitan area fell only 2 percent during the three-day weekend that ended Aug. 10 and thanked them for showing high compliance with requests to curb travel from Tokyo to other regions.

Highway operators across the country said Monday that traffic jams of 10 km or more occurred 149 times during the Bon holidays between Aug. 7 and 16, down 66 percent from a year earlier, suggesting that people in general refrained from travel or visits to their hometowns.

The number of domestic air travelers fell 64 percent during the Bon period to 1.24 million from the previous year, while international flight travelers plunged by 97 percent to 21,000, airline operators said Monday.

Elsewhere in the country, Osaka Prefecture reported 71 new cases. Aichi Prefecture confirmed 43 cases while Chiba Prefecture reported 32.

In Nara Prefecture, Tenri University said Monday it has suspended the activities of its rugby club after 24 players were confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus. According to university officials and the Nara Prefectural Government, the 24 infected players have exhibited mild or no symptoms.

The nationwide tally of new infections rose by 1,019 on Sunday to 56,851, exceeding 1,000 for a fourth straight day.

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