Tokyo hits six-month high in COVID-19 cases one day before Olympics begin

Tokyo hits six-month high in COVID-19 cases one day before Olympics begin
© Clive Rose/Getty Images

Tokyo hit a six-month high for new coronavirus cases on Thursday, just one day before the Olympics are set to begin.

The city recorded 1,979 new cases after breaking the previous six-month record one day earlier with 1,832 cases on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

The rise in cases comes as the Olympics are scheduled to begin on Friday and Olympic athletes and staff have tested positive for the virus. 

ADVERTISEMENT

A state of emergency in Tokyo, which will last until after the Games are over, also limits restaurant and bar hours. 

Toshiro Muto, head of the organizing committee for the Games, on Tuesday would not rule out the possibility that the Games could be canceled.

“We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,” Muto said. “We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”

Foreign and local spectators have been banned from the Games and stringent rules have been placed on the athletes in order to minimize the spread of the virus. 

The Games have not been popular among the citizens in Japan, as many have protested the Olympics out of fear of an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Only 23 percent of Japan's population is fully vaccinated as it has welcomed thousands of people into the country for the Games.