• Staff report, Jiji, Kyodo

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 18,287 new cases Wednesday, the 16th consecutive day above 10,000, but a decrease of 3,289 from a week earlier, the first week-on-week drop this year.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients in the capital under the metropolitan government’s criteria increased by eight from Wednesday to 59.

Eleven deaths were reported among those infected.

Elsewhere, Osaka Prefecture saw 15,264 cases and 31 deaths, while Aichi Prefecture reported 6,287 cases, the second highest after Saturday. Chiba Prefecture confirmed 4,741 cases and six deaths, while Hokkaido logged 3,606 cases and 12 deaths.

The health ministry said Wednesday the number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms nationwide rose by 71 from the previous day to 1,212.

COVID-linked deaths hit 159 on Tuesday, with nationwide daily cases topping 100,000 for the first time since Saturday.

The daily count for the deaths hit a record high, except for May 18 last year when the figure stood at 216 as the western city of Kobe belatedly reported 121 deaths altogether.

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