• staff report, Jiji, kyodo

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Tokyo reported 439 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, continuing a downward trend as the nation ramps up its vaccination drive.

The number of new cases in the capital compared with 508 new infections last Thursday.

Tokyo’s average daily tally of new cases in the week to Thursday stood at 391.7, compared with 475.3 a week earlier. The number of severely ill patients in Tokyo under the metropolitan government’s criteria came to 55, down two from the previous day.

Elsewhere, Hokkaido reported 182 new infections, while Okinawa reported 166.

The government is considering allowing older people nationwide to book COVID-19 vaccinations at two state-run mass inoculation centers in Tokyo and Osaka, and eventually expanding that to people under 65 as well, government sources said Thursday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Thursday that the government had also received over 1,000 applications for workplace vaccinations, which would cover some 5.14 million people.

The nation’s inoculation drive is accelerating as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aims to finish vaccinations for all people who wish to receive them by November. Kato said the target could be reached if the current pace of vaccinations continues.

On Wednesday, Japan confirmed 2,242 new COVID-19 cases nationwide, the figure falling by 794 compared with a week earlier. The number of severely ill patients across the country fell by 44 from Tuesday, to 1,055.

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