• staff report, Kyodo

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Tokyo confirmed 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the fewest since the middle of June 2020, as infections continue to plummet across Japan.

Monday’s figure was down by 12 from a week before and below 50 for the ninth consecutive day.

The seven-day average of new infections stood at 29.6, compared to 57.6 a week earlier, according to the metropolitan government.

The number of severely ill patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria came to 20, down by two from Sunday. There were three new deaths from COVID-19 reported Monday.

In the wake of the improved situation, Tokyo, the three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, as well as Osaka, on Monday lifted their requests for shorter hours to serve alcohol at restaurants and bars.

As part of efforts to prevent a rebound in infections, the metropolitan government will continue to ask restaurant owners to limit the number of people at tables to basically four, but five or more will be allowed if they present proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.

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