Photo/Illutration Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks at a meeting of the metropolitan government's COVID-19 monitoring panel on Oct. 7. (Kayoko Sekiguchi)

Tokyo on Oct. 7 lowered the COVID-19 alert level for its health care system from the most critical stage for the first time since December 2020.

The metropolitan government said the health care system is now at level 3 on the scale of 4, meaning general medical services are partially restricted in the capital.

New COVID-19 cases in Tokyo have steadily declined following waves of infections that severely strained medical services.

The capital also downgraded its alert over the spread of infections to level 2, the second lowest rung on the scale.

That level was not seen since the metropolitan government’s expert panel monitoring the spread of infections began meeting in July last year.

The move came a week after it was lowered to level 3.

Tokyo also announced on Oct. 7 that it plans to reduce in stages the number of hospital beds set aside for COVID-19 patients from 6,651 to about 4,000.