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Tokyo reports 19 new COVID-19 cases, fewest since June last year

A man hails a taxi in Roppingi neighborhood, an entertainment district, in Tokyo Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, as Tokyo Tower is silhouetted against the sunrise colored sky in the background. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo confirmed 19 daily coronavirus cases on Sunday, the fewest since mid-June last year, as the downtrend in infections continues across Japan.

    The figure released by the Tokyo metropolitan government was below 20 for the first time since June 17, 2020, when it reported 16 new infections.

    The latest seven-day average of new infections stood at 31.3 per day, down 48.2 percent from the previous week, according to the metropolitan government.

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

    It will be the first withdrawal of such a request in the Japanese capital since late November last year, though some health experts have warned of a possible sixth wave of infections this winter.

    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.

    The local government has said the policy will be effective by the end of November, adding what to do with the limit in December and thereafter will be decided after assessing the COVID-19 situation at that time.

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