• STAFF REPORT, JIJI

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Tokyo confirmed 1,219 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the metropolitan government said, surpassing the record for a Monday of 884 set just last week.

The figure in the capital came after a run of three straight days over 2,000 cases last week, including a record high 2,447 on Thursday. It also comes after Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures were put under a new state of emergency on Thursday amid the surging daily COVID-19 tallies.

In Tokyo, the number of severely ill COVID-19 patients in the city based on the metropolitan government’s standards rose by three to 131 as hospitals continue to face the prospect of being overwhelmed amid the surge in cases.

Of the people newly found with the virus in Tokyo, 356 are in their 20s, 204 in their 30s, 183 in their 40s and 177 in their 50s. Those aged 65 or over, who are at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, accounted for 151.

The cumulative number of infections in the capital stood at 76,163, according to the metropolitan government.

The spike in new cases comes after 9,628 coronavirus tests were administered on Friday. It usually takes around three days for tests to produce results.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday the metropolitan government aims to lower the daily number of new coronavirus cases in the capital to around 500 by Feb. 7, the final day of the state of emergency covering the greater Tokyo area over the epidemic. The capital previously saw its daily number hover around 500 in mid-December.

Monday’s figure came a day after the nationwide daily total of new COVID-19 cases came to 6,097, dipping below 7,000 for the first time in four days.

On Sunday, the nationwide death toll linked to the virus rose by 45 from the previous day to 4,080. The number of patients with severe symptoms, meanwhile, stood at a record 852 as of Sunday, up by 25 from the previous day, according to the health ministry.

Among four prefectures in the Kanto region under the state of emergency, Tokyo on Sunday reported 1,494 infections, while Kanagawa confirmed 729 new cases, Saitama 414 and Chiba 388. The combined cases among the four came to 3,025, accounting for nearly half of Sunday’s nationwide tally.

On Saturday, three Kansai prefectures, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, formally asked the central government to expand the state of emergency to cover them as well. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said he will consider the request over the coming days.

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