• staff report, Jiji, Kyodo

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Tokyo reported 471 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a day after the daily tally in the capital fell below 300 for the first time since April 5.

The figure was lower than the 542 cases seen last Tuesday and the 732 recorded May 18.

Tokyo’s daily infection tally averaged 537.0 for the last week, down from 611 the preceding week. The number of severe cases under the Tokyo metropolitan government’s standards decreased by five from the previous day to 70.

Meanwhile, hard-hit Hokkaido reported 254 new cases and 16 deaths linked to the virus, while Aichi Prefecture saw 305 cases and Okinawa Prefecture confirmed 223.

The figures came as Japan announced that it will start COVID-19 vaccinations at workplaces and universities on June 21 to speed up the pace of the country’s sluggish vaccine rollout. Japan has been lagging behind other developed countries in its inoculation program partly due to the difficulty in securing venues for vaccinations and failure to procure enough doses from abroad.

The nationwide daily caseload has been falling, with the number of newly confirmed coronavirus infections across Japan coming 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, meanwhile, rose by two from Sunday to 1,349. New COVID-19 fatalities totaled 80.

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