• staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo reported 708 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as infections continue to climb throughout the country, a day after confirming a record 949 cases.

The figure far outpaced the previous high of 556 cases for a Sunday set just last week.

Among the daily total in Tokyo, 105 cases involved people age 65 or older while the number of severely ill patients, based on the city’s standards, came to 82 — one more than the previous day, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The number of severely ill patients remained at its highest level since early May.

People in their 20s made up the largest group, at 183, followed by 132 people in their 30s and 99 people in their 40s. The cumulative number of infections in the capital stood at 56,559.

The spike in new cases in the capital comes after 9,007 coronavirus tests were administered on Thursday. It usually takes around three days for tests to produce results.

On Saturday, Japan announced that it will temporarily suspend new entry into the country of nonresident foreign nationals from around the world from Monday through the end of January as a precautionary step against a new, potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant, the government said Saturday.

The government said it has decided to take the measure as the variant, first detected in Britain, is spreading in several countries.

Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter but must show proof of a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before departing for Japan and must quarantine for two weeks after arrival, the government said in an emailed statement.

The news came the same day Japan confirmed two more people to have been infected with the new variant, following its first cases of the strain detected in five people the previous day.

Japan confirmed 3,878 coronavirus cases Saturday, a new record daily tally, as Tokyo and several other areas continued to report the highest numbers of infections as the year-end and New Year holidays commence across the country.

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