Tokyo: Tokyo has reported 950 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number in two months, as infections steadily spread less than two weeks before the city hosts the Summer Olympics.
Saturday’s COVID-19 tally compared to 822 confirmed cases reported on Friday. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Tokyo starting Monday to keep the infections from becoming explosive during the Olympics, which open on July 23.
His government initially planned to take less-stringent measures, but came under pressure to issue the emergency order as the more contagious delta strain of COVID-19 spread in the Tokyo region.
Experts warned that caseloads could surge to thousands within weeks as people traveled around the country on summer vacations and the Olympics drew foreign and domestic visitors to Tokyo.
Olympic officials decided not to allow spectators at Olympic venues in the Tokyo region, while allowing limited attendance in other parts of Japan.
However, that plan is crumbling after Hokkaido and Fukushima announced that no fans would be permitted at venues in their areas.
Despite the recent acceleration of Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, only 16.8% of the population is fully vaccinated. Japan has reported about 812,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 15,000 deaths in the pandemic.