• Staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo reported 435 new coronavirus cases Friday as the number of severely ill COVID-19 patients nationwide dropped below 1,000 for the first time since April 30.

The number of new cases in the capital was down slightly from the 472 new infections logged last Friday.

Elsewhere, Aichi Prefecture reported 149 cases, while Hokkaido logged 145 new cases and 17 deaths and Okinawa Prefecture confirmed 145 cases.

Tokyo’s average daily tally of new cases in the week to Friday stood at 386.4, compared with 455 a week earlier. The number of severely ill patients in Tokyo under the metropolitan government’s criteria came to 51, down four from the previous day.

The daily number of new coronavirus cases in Japan came to 2,046 on Thursday, above 2,000 for the second straight day but down by 784 from a week earlier.

Across the country, 71 new deaths were reported among infected people.

The country had 942 severely ill COVID-19 patients as of midnight on Thursday, a decrease of 73 from a day before, according to the health ministry.

By prefecture, Osaka had the largest number of such patients, at 221, followed by Aichi and Okinawa, at 86 each, Hyogo, at 64, Tokyo, at 55, and Kanagawa, at 54.

The number of severely ill patients began to grow mainly in the Kansai, which includes Osaka, around late March, when the country was hit by a fourth wave of infections.

The figure topped 1,000 on May 1 and hit a record high of 1,413 on May 26.

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