• Staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo reported 301 new COVID-19 cases on Friday as the government was set to extend the current state of emergency by about two weeks.

The government is poised to decide Friday to extend its coronavirus state of emergency, now covering Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, until March 21.

The decision will be made at a meeting Friday night of the government’s coronavirus response headquarters, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. The state of emergency for Tokyo and the prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa is currently slated to run until Sunday.

Of Friday’s new cases in the capital, 63 were from people in their 20s, 49 people were in their 30s and 44 were in their 50s. Those age 65 or over accounted for 74 cases.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria fell by two from a day earlier to 49. The cumulative number of cases in the capital is now 112,925.

Tokyo’s daily case total came after 7,621 tests were conducted on Tuesday. It usually takes about three days for test results to affect the daily case count.

Japan confirmed 1,170 new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Thursday, the second consecutive day above 1,000.

New COVID-19 fatalities totaled 67. The number of severely ill patients fell by nine from Wednesday to 398.

The coronavirus variant spreading in Britain was found in three people in their 50s to 80s in Osaka Prefecture, bringing cumulative variant cases confirmed in Japan to 234, the health ministry said.

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