Of the 279 new cases, 78 of them were reported in Tokyo, the metropolitan government said, with the daily figure falling below the 100-mark for the first time since last Wednesday.
Tokyo, the hardest hit by the novel coronavirus among all of Japan's 47 prefectures, has seen its total tally rise to 25,335 infections, the metropolitan government's preliminary figures showed Monday.
Towards the end of last week, experts voiced concerns that while the country had seen new infections mark a downward trajectory of late, virus resurgence was still possible.
Virologists and infectious disease experts advising the health ministry said that the reproduction number in Japan (R0 or R-number), also known as the R value, which measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass on virus to, had risen to one.
They maintained that infections had shown a resurgence since the beginning of this month in a number of prefectures including Miyagi, Gunma, and another of Tokyo's neighboring prefectures, Chiba.
The experts also said that in Kyoto and Osaka, rising cases were indicative of a resurgence of the virus.
As for Tokyo, the experts said the declining trend of new cases had "bottomed out."
They noted that while the number of patients requiring hospitalisation and designated as "severely ill" has been declining since late last month, the pace of decline has been markedly slow.
"We need to keep an eye on when the impact of the movement of people during the holidays will come out," Takaji Wakita, director general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases who heads the advisory group for the health ministry, was quoted as saying.
Other virologists here have voiced concerns about the impending cold and influenza season Japan is heading into and the possibility that transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic would increase significantly during this period.
Elsewhere in Japan, Osaka Prefecture, second hardest-hit by the pneumonia-causing virus, reported 36 new confirmed cases to bring the total to 10,483, while Tokyo's neighboring prefecture of Kanagawa confirmed 17 new daily cases, raising its tally to 6,755.
The nationwide death toll from the virus currently stands at 1,574. - Xinhua
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