• Staff report, Jiji

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 2,539 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, down by 1,688 from a week before, while cases remained high in other highly populated prefectures.

The daily tally in the capital was lower than the previous week’s level for the 12th consecutive day, but experts said precautions should be taken to prevent a spread of COVID-19 infections as schools are opening after the summer break.

Tokyo also confirmed 10 new deaths among COVID-19 patients. The seven-day average of daily cases came to 2,898.9 — down from 4,184.6 a week before. The number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms, measured by Tokyo government standards, declined by 13 from Thursday to 278.

In the capital region, Saitama Prefecture logged 925 cases and six deaths and Chiba Prefecture tallied 1,163 cases and nine deaths.

Osaka Prefecture reported 2,305 cases and six deaths, while neighboring Hyogo Prefecture saw 870 new cases and two deaths.

Meanwhile, the nationwide number of severely ill patients grew by 63 from Thursday to a record 2,221, the health ministry said.

Across Japan, 18,228 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, while 65 fatalities were reported.

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