• staff report, Kyodo, Jiji


The daily number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases across Japan came to 1,793 on Monday, standing below 2,000 for the first time since April 5.

The number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms rose by two from Sunday to 1,349. New COVID-19 fatalities totaled 80.

New infection cases in Tokyo came to 260, falling below 300 for the first time since April 5.

Osaka Prefecture had 98 cases, the first figure below 100 since March 22. Osaka, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus, including powerful new variants of the deadly disease, also reported 16 new deaths linked to the virus, bringing the toll in the prefecture to 2,315.

Hyogo Prefecture, which neighbors Osaka, confirmed 29 cases. Its daily count fell below 30 for the first time in about two months.

By prefecture, the daily count was highest at 279 in northernmost Hokkaido. Its new COVID-19 fatalities hit a record high of 19.

Meanwhile, Okinawa Prefecture continued to see high numbers, logging 142 new infections — a record high for a Monday.

Tokyo’s daily infection tally averaged 547.1 for the last week, down 14.3% from the preceding week. The number of severe cases under the Tokyo metropolitan government’s standards decreased by two from the previous day to 75.

In the capital, the daily tally was also lower than the 419 cases seen last Monday and the 340 recorded May 17.

Neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture dropped below the 200 threshold for the first time in two weeks, reporting 139 infections.

Kanagawa said that what seems to be an Indian variant case was found in a cluster of infections among staff of an accommodation facility for coronavirus carriers with mild or no symptoms.

The prefectural government suspects that the cluster started from community-acquired infection. At the facility in Atsugi, nine workers have tested positive so far, but none of them are believed to have caught the virus from a facility user.

The nation’s so-far sluggish COVID-19 vaccination effort got a boost Monday as two state-run mass inoculation centers in Tokyo and Osaka began operating at full capacity one week after their opening.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, the total number of cases confirmed in Japan had reached 745,685, up 25,460 from a week before. New cases across the preceding seven-day period had decreased by about 9,200 from the previous week, marking a decline for the second straight week.

The nationwide death toll linked to the virus rose by 659 through the week to bring the total to 12,993.

By prefecture, Tokyo reported the highest number of new cases over the seven-day period, at 3,910, followed by Hokkaido, at 3,099, Aichi Prefecture, at 2,571, Osaka Prefecture, at 1,886, and Okinawa Prefecture, at 1,821.

The rising number of infections prompted the central government on Friday to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and seven other prefectures by three weeks to June 20 — just over a month before the Olympics are set to begin in the capital.

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