• STAFF REPORT, KYODO

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The number of novel coronavirus infections newly confirmed in Tokyo reached 226 on Saturday, the metropolitan government said.

The daily figure for the capital jumped above 200 after falling to 187 on Friday.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said in a statement that 5,301 tests had been conducted, adding that the number of seriously ill patients had fallen by one from the previous day to 23.

Friday’s figure brought the cumulative number of people infected with the virus in the capital to 22,857.

Across Japan, the single-day tally on Friday exceeded 640, bringing the total number of infections to around 75,300, including about 700 from the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February.

The death toll stood at 1,441. Japan decided the same day to relax a rule limiting the size of crowds at professional sports, concerts and other events from Sept. 19 to expand social and economic activities amid signs nationwide coronavirus cases are moderating in recent days.

The government will lift the 5,000-person cap on large events, allowing them to hold up to 50 percent of their capacity, officials said following a meeting of a panel of experts. Under the current rule, venues for such events are allowed to hold up to 50 percent of their capacity or up to a total of 5,000 people.

On Thursday, the metropolitan government lowered its virus alert status, and Gov. Yuriko Koike announced that voluntary measures to discourage dining out, public events and travel outside the capital would be loosened.

Tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said Friday that Tokyo would become eligible for the controversial Go To Travel campaign, a program meant to stimulate the tourism industry, from which the capital was initially excluded when the program began in late July.

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