• Staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo reported 329 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, a slight uptick from the same day last week, as six prefectures prepared for an early exit of the coronavirus state of emergency on Monday.

The six prefectures — Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Gifu and Fukuoka — will exit the emergency Monday, ahead of its scheduled March 7 expiry, after new infections and hospital bed occupancy rates were reduced. The emergency declaration will be maintained through the scheduled end date for Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba, after the decline in new cases slowed. Tokyo confirmed 272 new COVID-19 cases last Sunday.

Of this Sunday’s new cases in the capital, 50 were in their 30s, 43 in their 20s and 36 in their 40s. Those age 65 or over accounted for 131 cases.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria fell by one from a day earlier to 67. Reflecting the latest figures, the cumulative number of cases in the capital is now 111,676.

Tokyo’s daily case total came after 7,139 tests were conducted on Thursday. It usually takes about three days for test results to affect the daily case count.

On Saturday, a total of 1,214 new cases were reported across Japan, with the daily total standing below 1,500 for the ninth consecutive day. Forty-one deaths linked to the virus were also confirmed and the number of severely ill patients fell by 17 from the previous day to 440.

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