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The number of suspected cases of coronavirus variants in Tokyo has exceeded that in Osaka Prefecture, according to the health ministry.

Tokyo had 2,789 out of 13,836 suspected variant cases across the country as of Tuesday. Osaka, which logged 2,472 cases, topped the list until last week, the ministry said Friday.

The nationwide number increased by 3,734 over the past week. The rise was lower than the previous week’s increase of 4,186, but a decline in testing during the Golden Week holiday period is seen to be partly behind the dip.

The ministry said that there is a continuing need to monitor the situation closely.

The rapid spread of new and more contagious coronavirus variants across Japan, including in the Tokyo metropolitan area, is renewing fears that a further rise could push the medical system in the capital to the brink of collapse.

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