Tokyo logs record 3,177 COVID-19 cases, casting pall over Olympics
Written by tokyoclub on July 28, 2021
BREAKING NEWS: Japan’s daily COVID-19 cases hit all-time high of 8,000-plus
TOKYO – Tokyo confirmed 3,177 daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, setting a record high for the second consecutive day as the Olympic host city’s hospitals come under increasing strain.
The surge in infections comes amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus and as people in the capital tire of restrictions under a state of emergency.
The record high comes just a day after Tokyo logged 2,848 daily COVID-19 cases, exceeding the previous record of 2,520 cases on Jan. 7.
With the virus also spreading rapidly elsewhere, the nationwide tally of daily infections reported on Tuesday eclipsed 7,000 for the first time since May 12, nearing its all-time high of about 8,000 marked in early January.
Olympic organizers have pledged to implement adequate COVID-19 countermeasures for a “safe and secure” games, and stressed that the number of infections among athletes and others associated with the sporting extravaganza is very low.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday denied the possibility of canceling the Olympics, which opened Friday without spectators at almost all venues.
The government has placed Tokyo under a fourth state of emergency from July 12 to Aug. 22, asking restaurants and bars to stop serving alcohol and close early.
But some eating establishments have ignored the call as the government has lagged in handing out “cooperation money” meant to help them cover the loss in business.
Many people, especially younger ones, have grown weary of the restrictions and begun going outside more.
“The medical system has already started becoming more strained,” said Shigeru Omi, Suga’s top COVID-19 adviser, calling on the government to “send out a message that gets across the sense of crisis they should be feeling and take countermeasures fitting of the current infection situation.”
The governors of three prefectures surrounding the capital — Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa — are considering asking to be placed under the same state of emergency, which does not entail a hard lockdown like some countries have imposed.
The government will “promptly consider such requests and make a decision,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Olympics organizing committee said 16 more people linked to the games, none of them athletes, have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total since the start of this month to 169.
It is the first time in four days that the organizers have reported no COVID-19 positive cases of Olympic athletes.