Tokyo infections hit record 5,042 amid Games

Tokyo infections hit record 5,042 amid Games
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Tokyo coronavirus infections hit a record of 5,042 cases on Thursday as cases surge amid the Olympics.

The spike in cases in Tokyo comes as the rest of the country is also seeing an increase in infections, with all of Japan recording 14,000 new cases on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga responded to the numbers Thursday by expanding emergency measures to 13 prefectures, but the measures are less stringent than the ones placed on Tokyo.

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Tokyo and some surrounding areas have been under emergency orders since the middle of July, with alcohol banned at restaurants and businesses ordered to shorten their hours, although some establishments have been observed not following the rules, the AP reported. 

The emergency orders for Tokyo are in place until the end of August. The Olympics run through the end of this week.

“We need to tackle the situation as we now have a stronger sense of urgency,” Suga said during a press conference Thursday, according to the AP.

“The infections are expanding at the pace we have never experienced before,” he added.

Suga says there is no connection between the Games and the spike in cases the country is currently experiencing and urged vaccinations as a way to help the country fight the surge in infections.

Japan currently only has 31 percent of its population vaccinated.

Japan has recorded 971,000 COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic and more than 15,000 deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

Japan faced backlash from a number of critics this year as they were concerned the Olympics would lead to an outbreak in a country that had seen relatively small numbers of infections compared to others during the pandemic.