Tokyo sees new 6-month high in COVID-19 cases day before Olympics open

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Tokyo deed different six-month precocious successful caller COVID-19 cases connected Thursday, 1 time earlier the Olympics begin, arsenic worries turn of a worsening of infections during the Games.

Thursday’s 1,979 caller cases are the highest since 2,044 were recorded connected Jan. 15.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is determined to clasp the Olympics, placed Tokyo nether a authorities of exigency connected July 12, but regular cases person sharply accrued since then.

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The exigency measures, which mostly impact a prohibition connected intoxicant income and shorter hours for restaurants and bars, are to past until Aug. 22, aft the Olympics extremity connected Aug. 8.

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Japan has reported astir 853,000 cases and 15,100 deaths since the pandemic began, astir of them this year. Still, the fig of cases and deaths arsenic a stock of the colonisation are overmuch little than successful galore different countries.

The Olympics, delayed for a twelvemonth by the pandemic, statesman Friday. Spectators are banned from each venues successful the Tokyo area, with constricted audiences allowed astatine a fewer outlying sites.

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Suga’s authorities has been criticized for what immoderate accidental is prioritizing the Olympics implicit the nation’s health. His nationalist enactment ratings person fallen to astir 30 per cent successful caller media surveys, and determination has been small festivity up of the Games. On Thursday, the manager of the opening ceremony, Kentaro Kobayashi, was dismissed implicit a past Holocaust joke.

In Olympics-related diplomacy, Suga is to conscionable with U.S. archetypal woman Jill Biden connected Thursday and person meal astatine the authorities impermanent house. Earlier successful the day, helium was visited by World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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Also Thursday, Emperor Naruhito received a courtesy sojourn from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach astatine the Imperial Palace.

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Experts accidental microorganism infections among unvaccinated radical younger than property 50 are rising sharply.

Japan’s vaccinations began precocious and slowly, but the gait picked up successful May arsenic the authorities pushed to accelerate the thrust earlier the Olympics, though the gait has since slowed owed to a shortage of imported vaccines.

About 23 per cent of Japanese are afloat vaccinated, mode abbreviated of the level believed indispensable to person immoderate meaningful effect connected reducing the hazard successful the wide population.

Experts warned connected Wednesday that infections successful Tokyo are apt to proceed to worsen successful coming weeks.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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