• Staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo reported 986 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, after 12 consecutive days above 1,000 amid the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency.

Nationwide, the country reported 3,991 new coronavirus cases — its first daily tally below 4,000 in 20 days — and 56 new deaths linked to the virus. The number of patients with severe symptoms stood at 1,007 across the country as of Sunday, rising above 1,000 for the seventh straight day.

In Tokyo, the number of severely ill patients remained static at 156, the metropolitan government said in a statement.

People in their 20s made up the largest group of new cases in the capital by age, at 191, followed by 148 in their 50s and 143 in their 30s. There were 260 new cases among people aged 65 or over. The cumulative total in the capital is now 93,890.

Tokyo’s daily figure comes after 10,796 tests were conducted on Thursday. It usually takes around three days for tests to produce results.

On Saturday, the country’s cumulative death toll linked to the virus topped 5,000 after jumping by 2,000 over the past month, with the death toll topping 3,000 on Dec. 22.

Health minister Norihisa Tamura told a news conference Friday that the virus situation appeared unchanged over the two weeks since a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo and three other prefectures, adding that the government would closely watch for any changes.

Asked whether the government could lift the emergency, which was extended to seven other prefectures on Jan. 14, in early February as planned, Tamura said a final decision will be made based on opinions from experts. The newly covered prefectures are Aichi, Fukuoka, Gifu, Hyogo, Kyoto, Osaka and Tochigi.

Although daily new cases have shown signs of peaking out in some prefectures, they are far more than those reported during the first state of emergency, issued in April last year.

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