• Kyodo, Staff Report


Tokyo reported 88 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, dipping below 100 for a second straight day.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said in a statement that 1,014 tests had been conducted, adding that the number of seriously ill patients rose to 30 from 27 a day earlier.

Tuesday’s figure brought the cumulative number of people infected with the virus in the capital to 24,394.

Cases reported on long holidays have typically been comparatively low due in part to reduced staffing at testing centers.

On Monday, Japan confirmed 312 new coronavirus cases nationwide, the lowest daily tally in a week, amid concerns over a pickup in infections in the midst of a four-day holiday that has prompted more people to venture out to domestic tourist spots.

The number compares with 480 cases Sunday and is the smallest since Sept. 14, when 268 cases were reported.

The daily figures reflect the most recent totals reported by health authorities and medical institutions.

A man pulls a rickshaw in Tokyo's Asakusa tourist area on Monday, the third day of Japan's four-day holiday period. | KYODO
A man pulls a rickshaw in Tokyo’s Asakusa tourist area on Monday, the third day of Japan’s four-day holiday period. | KYODO

Monday’s figures brought the total nationwide tally to 80,184 cases including around 700 from the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February. The death toll rose by seven to 1,527.

Japan saw a resurgence in new virus cases following the end of a state of emergency in late May, with more than 1,500 daily cases reported in early August. But the pace of increase has been slowing recently.

Last Tuesday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government lifted a request for alcohol-serving business operators such as restaurants and bars in the capital’s 23 wards to close at 10 p.m.

The reduction in infections also prompted the central government to relax a rule limiting the size of crowds at sports matches, movie theaters and other events, starting Saturday, the first day of the four-day holiday through Tuesday.

People appeared less cautious about traveling and returned to tourist spots during the holidays, local store and restaurant operators said Monday.

Hayato Nozaki, 34, who works for a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, one of the most popular tourist spots in the capital, said he had not seen the area so crowded with tourists for a while.

“As we had long been in a severe situation, this is a relief,” he said. “But I’m also worried that virus infections may surge again.”

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