• Kyodo, staff report, Jiji

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A hospital worker in central Japan who has received two vaccine shots was confirmed Sunday as infected with the novel coronavirus, as the country reported 2,777 daily cases with Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture continuing to see a rebound in infections.

The dispatched worker at Ishikawa Prefectural Central Hospital in Kanazawa is believed to be the first person in Japan to have been infected after two COVID-19 vaccine injections.

Local authorities said the temporary staffer had received doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. on March 13 and April 3. The person has not shown any symptoms yet, they said.

“In general, it takes time before antibodies are produced following vaccination,” a prefectural government official said.

Japan started vaccinations for health care workers in February. The U.S. pharmaceutical company’s vaccine is administered twice, three weeks apart.

The worker took a test after coming into contact with an infected person. According to the hospital, the person does not deal with patients.

Also Sunday, Tokyo reported an additional 421 coronavirus cases, a day before the metropolitan government imposes stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

The average number of daily new cases in the capital in the week through Sunday jumped to 468, compared to the average of 389.7 in the previous week.

Of Sunday’s new cases, 138 were confirmed among people in their 20s, 78 among those in their 30s and 61 among those in their 40s. Those age 65 or older accounted for 46 cases.

The number of infected people with severe symptoms under the metropolitan government’s criteria rose by two from the previous day to 39. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the capital came to 125,978.

The metropolitan government will start imposing tougher prevention measures in many parts of Tokyo on Monday, including asking restaurants and bars in densely populated areas to close by 8 p.m.

But the steps will be implemented without the central government declaring a state of emergency. Japan last month fully lifted a second coronavirus state of emergency that had been in place since January in Tokyo and other areas.

The quasi-emergency measures were introduced on April 5 in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga decided Friday to add Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa to the list of areas covered.

Osaka Prefecture confirmed 760 daily cases Sunday, lower than its record 918 marked the previous day, amid worries that the western prefecture and the wider Kansai region is experiencing a surge of more contagious coronavirus variants.

The occupancy rate for hospital beds for severely ill patients in Osaka exceeded 80% as of Saturday, prefectural officials said.

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