Tokyo Sets New Record of COVID-19 Cases Amid the Olympics

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Tokyo on Thursday (5/8) reported 5,042 cases of the new coronavirus, its latest daily high since the pandemic began. With that number of new cases, the Olympic host now has 236,138 cases.

Nationally, Japan reported more than 14,000 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total now to 970,000.

Tokyo has imposed a state of emergency since mid-July. The four surrounding areas then enforce the same. The policy has even now been extended until August 31.

Pedestrians surround the Ginza shopping center amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Tokyo, Japan, August 5, 2021. (REUTERS/Androniki Christodoulou)

This state of emergency policy basically prohibits restaurants and bars from serving alcoholic beverages, and shortens the working hours of employees. However, because people are tired of various restrictions, the policy is increasingly likely to be ignored.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has denied holding the Olympics from July 23 to August 8 had caused an increase in infections.

Worried about the rate at which the coronavirus is spreading, some experts have called for the state of emergency currently in place in Tokyo and five other areas to be expanded nationwide.

Atmosphere at Shinagawa Station at the start of the working day amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2021. (REUTERS/Kevin Coombs)

Atmosphere at Shinagawa Station at the start of the working day amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2021. (REUTERS/Kevin Coombs)

But Suga ignored that suggestion. Instead, the prime minister on Thursday announced lighter versions of the emergency policy in eight prefectures, including Fukushima in the east and Kumamoto in the south.

Experts at the Tokyo metropolitan government panel warned that infections driven by the more contagious Delta variant could increase the number of new cases significantly. In the next two weeks, Tokyo could get more than 10,000 new cases every day. [ab/uh]

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