Story at a glance

  • Tokyo reported a record number of new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
  • “We need to tackle the situation now that we have a stronger sense of urgency,” Suga told reporters.
  • Experts warn daily cases could surpass 10,000 per day in two weeks time.

Tokyo reported a record number of new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day on Thursday as the Olympic games hum along in the Japanese capital. 

The Tokyo government reported 5,042 cases, eclipsing the high mark set a day earlier by more than 800, The Associated Press reported

“We need to tackle the situation now that we have a stronger sense of urgency,” Prime Minister Yosihide Suga told reporters, according to The AP. “The infections are expanding at a pace we have never experienced before.”

Suga reportedly vowed to combat the viral outbreak through a vaccination push instead of a full scale lockdown, while experts warn daily cases could surpass 10,000 per day in two weeks time, according to The AP. 


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Japan’s capital has been under a state of emergency since July, which has largely focused on limiting operating hours on businesses and an alcohol ban at bars and restaurants. The emergency is set to expire Aug. 22 — two days prior to the beginning of the Paralympic Games. 

Japanese Health Minister Norihisa Tamura attributed the ongoing surge to the delta variant, telling parliament yesterday that new infections have reached a point “unseen in the past.” Tamura also urged citizens with mild symptoms to stay home and isolate themselves to prevent overloading the health care system.

"The pandemic has entered a new phase ... Unless we have enough beds, we can't bring people to hospital. We're acting pre-emptively on this front," Tamura told parliament, according to Reuters. 

"If things don't turn out as we expect, we can roll back the policy," Tamura added.


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Officials insist that the uptick in cases is unrelated to the Tokyo games, despite growing cases not only in the capital, but across the nation. 

Yet Shigeru Omi, a top medical adviser to the Japanese government, maintained that continuing the delayed Olympics amid a global pandemic might have signaled tacit approval to citizens to relax their views on COVID-19 policies. 

"Political leaders are sending out messages to the public in earnest but probably not as strongly and consistently as hoped," Omi said. "We're seeing COVID-19 clusters emerge more broadly including at schools and offices."

Japan has fully vaccinated more than 32 percent of its citizens with more than 98 million doses administered. Overall, there have been 971,905 cases and 15,246 deaths due to COVID-19 in Japan to date, according to Johns Hopkins University data.


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Published on Aug 05, 2021