• Staff Report, Jiji

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Tokyo reported 293 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, a day after the government extended the state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures by two weeks till March 21 to ease a heavy burden on its health care system.

The tally fell below 300 for the first time in two days.

Of Saturday’s new cases in the capital, 68 were from people in their 20s, 44 people were in their 40s and 43 were in their 30s. Those age 65 or over totaled 70 cases.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria rose by two from a day earlier to 51. The cumulative number of cases in the capital is now 113,218.

The result came after 7,101 tests were conducted on Wednesday. It usually takes about three days for test results to affect the daily case count.

Nationwide, Japan confirmed 1,148 new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Friday, the third successive day above 1,000.

New COVID-19 fatalities totaled 55. The number of severely ill patients fell by 10 from Thursday to 388.

The health ministry said that coronavirus variants were found in a total of 17 people in eight prefectures, including Saitama, Gifu and Kyoto.

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