• staff report, Jiji

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The daily number of novel coronavirus cases confirmed in Japan stood at 2,764 on Monday, falling below 3,000 for the first time in 28 days.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms stood at a record high of 1,017, up by 10 from Sunday, according to the health ministry. The cumulative death toll from the virus rose by 74 to 5,207.

Tokyo reported 618 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the lowest daily figure since the capital confirmed 481 infections on Dec. 28.

The figure comes more than two weeks into a coronavirus state of emergency.

The number of severely ill patients in Tokyo also plunged, falling by eight to 148, 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 117, followed by 114 in their 30s and 93 in their 50s. There were 121 new cases among people aged 65 or over. The cumulative total in the capital is now 94,508.

Tokyo’s daily figure comes after 7,161 tests were conducted on Friday. It usually takes around three days for tests to produce results.

On Saturday, the capital ended a streak of 12 consecutive days above 1,000 cases.

“Recently, the total number of infections in Tokyo and and three surrounding prefectures has been gradually decreasing, but one issue is that we we have to view the number by the day of the week,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, the top government spokesman, said, adding that it is necessary to continue to analyzing the situation to determine if there is a downward trend.

Mondays have typically seen fewer infections than other days of the week, apparently due at least in part to a lack of testing center staff available to process, collect and report results on weekends.

The health ministry said that the coronavirus variant spreading in Britain has been detected from a Tokyo man in his 40s. The man had been suspected of being the source of infection for a Tokyo girl aged under 10 who tested positive for the variant on Friday.

The man has never been abroad, and his case is thus suspected to be community-acquired infection.

The cumulative number of coronavirus variant infection cases in Japan rose to 51.

As of Monday afternoon, Japan’s weekly count of newly confirmed coronavirus cases had also dropped for the second consecutive week amid the ongoing state of emergency covering 11 hard-hit prefectures. The cumulative number of infections, including cruise ship passengers and crew members, stood at 367,008, up by 35,814 from a week before.

The margin of increase shrank from the preceding week’s 41,778.

The total number of deaths linked to COVID-19 rose by 595 to 5,133, posting a faster pace of rise for the 10th consecutive week.

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

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