• Staff report, Jiji, Kyodo

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Tokyo confirmed 1,204 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, just short of the daily record for a Monday set last week, as the capital emerged from the first weekend under a fresh coronavirus state of emergency.

The number of severely ill patients counted under Tokyo’s criteria rose by five to 143, the metropolitan government said, as fears of hospitals overwhelmed by the virus grow.

Among the total number of new cases, people in their 20s made up the largest group at 303, followed by 206 for people in their 30s and 199 among people in their 40s. The number of cases among people 65 and older was 200. The cumulative total in the capital is now 86,674.

Tokyo’s daily figure comes after 8,206 tests were conducted on Friday. It usually takes around three days for tests to produce results.

The rising numbers of new coronavirus cases and those with unclear infection routes in Tokyo may be indicating a possible explosive spread of infections in the capital, experts have said. Japan is still in the throes of a third wave, with the daily number of new coronavirus cases hitting a record 7,883 on Jan. 8.

The cumulative number of novel coronavirus infection cases nationwide, including among cruise ship passengers and crew members, stood at 331,271 as of 10 a.m. Monday, up by 41,779 from a week before.

The weekly count of new cases dropped for the first time in 16 weeks.

The death toll linked to the coronavirus was up by 458 at 4,538, with the pace of rise accelerating for the ninth consecutive week. Nearly 1,700 people were confirmed to have died due to the virus in the past month.

Among the country’s 47 prefectures, the number of cumulative infection cases is largest in Tokyo, at 85,470, up by 10,526, followed by Osaka Prefecture, at 38,095, up by 3,642, and Kanagawa Prefecture, at 33,187, up by 5,842.

Osaka saw the largest number of coronavirus deaths in the country for the first time, at 742, up by 69, surpassing Tokyo, where cumulative deaths came to 725, up by 40. Fatalities increased by 32 to 538 in Hokkaido and by 38 to 356 in Kanagawa. Shimane Prefecture is the only one where no coronavirus death has been reported.

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