Newly reported COVID-19 cases in Tokyo surged to a record high of 4,058 today, the metropolitan government announced, casting a shadow over the Olympic Games.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said there is no link between the ongoing Olympics and surging COVID-19 cases in the capital, stressing adequate measures are in place to prevent infections spreading from athletes and staff visiting for the games.
Suga said the measures include the number of people arriving in Japan for the Olympics and Paralympics has been cut to around one-third of the 180,000 originally expected, with border controls at airports preventing them from coming into contact with the public.
“We are thoroughly implementing these steps, so I don’t believe (the Olympics) are the cause” for the sharp rise in infections, he said at a press conference after deciding to expand the current COVID-19 state of emergency beyond Tokyo.
The highly contagious Delta variant of the virus has been pushing daily COVID-19 cases to record highs in recent days in Tokyo and some other parts of the country. On Thursday, the nationwide tally of daily cases topped 10,000 for the first time, with Tokyo reporting 3,865 new infections, hitting a record for the third straight day.
Suga reiterated his call for the Japanese public to stay home during summer break as much as possible and to watch the Olympics on TV, hours after the Tokyo metropolitan government said Friday’s daily number totaled 3,300.
The games organizing committee yesterday reported 27 more infections linked with the games, the highest daily count since it began tallying infections at the start of this month.