Tokyo sets all-time high for new virus cases amid Olympics

Tokyo sets all-time high for new virus cases amid Olympics
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Tokyo on Wednesday hit an all-time high for new coronavirus infections with more than 3,000 reported as Japan’s capital remains under a state of emergency with the Olympic Games in full swing. 

Tokyo recorded 3,177 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the first time daily infections surpassed 3,000, according to The Associated Press

The number also outpaced the previous record set just the day before with 2,848 new infections recorded. 

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While there has been widespread public opposition among the local community toward holding the Tokyo Olympics amid the case surge fueled in part by the highly transmissible delta variant, experts and leaders continue to argue that there is no evidence to indicate that those participating in the Olympics have transmitted the virus to members of the public. 

“I don’t think there have been any cases related to the Olympic Games,” Taro Kono, Japan’s vaccine minister, told the AP Wednesday. “We aren’t worried about that issue.” 

On Tuesday, Japan recorded 7,630 new cases, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 882,823.

The surge in infections comes as Japan’s vaccine rollout has been relatively slow compared to some other countries, with just about 26 percent of its population fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, according to the AP. 

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on Wednesday issued a call for young people to get vaccinated and follow safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, noting that it is unvaccinated young people that account for the majority of new cases. 

“Younger people’s activity holds the key [to slowing the infections], and we need your cooperation,” Koike said, according to the AP. 

“Please make sure to avoid nonessential outings and observe basic anti-infection measures, and I would like younger people to get vaccinated,” the governor added. 

Tokyo’s state of emergency, its fourth since the start of the pandemic, officially went into effect on July 12, and is set to last through Aug. 22. The order mandates the closure of bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors serving alcohol.