• staff report, Jiji, Kyodo

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Twenty-one deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in Tokyo as daily caseloads continued to fall, with the capital confirming 1,067 new infections on Sunday, down by 786 from a week earlier.

That marks the 21st day in a row that the capital’s week on week numbers have fallen.

Osaka Prefecture reported more new cases than the capital Saturday, logging 1,147 new infections along with one death, while Aichi Prefecture recorded two deaths and 855 cases.

The seven-day average of daily new infections in Tokyo stood at 1,384.0, compared to 2,549.3 a week earlier.

The number of people severely ill with the coronavirus under the metropolitan government’s standards dropped by three from the previous day to 230.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of coronavirus response, said on a television program Sunday that Japan’s inoculation rate will soon be on par with major economies in Europe now that it has reached 50%.

“If vaccination moves ahead at the current pace, it will surpass 60% by the end of this month,” Nishimura said, drawing a comparison with current rates in Britain and France.

On Saturday, the number of new infections nationwide came to 8,807, down by 7,200 from a week earlier and below 10,000 for the second straight day.

On the day, 56 new fatalities were reported among infected people across the country, while the number of severely ill COVID-19 patients fell by 68 from the previous day to 2,057.

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