Tokyo logs record 5,042 new COVID-19 cases as infections surge amid Olympic Games

Tokyo: The Tokyo Games organisers on Friday announced 27 new COVID-19 cases linked with the Olympics, including three athletes, the highest daily count so far.

The three athletes include US pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, a two-time world champion, who on Thursday pulled out of the Games after testing positive for the virus.

The 27 cases, bringing the cumulative Games-related total to 220, comprise 18 residents of Japan and nine from overseas. Of the daily total, two athletes and a Games-related official were staying in the Olympic village.

The highest daily figure in Games-related cases came a day after Tokyo reported 3,865 new infections, hitting a record for the third straight day, and the nationwide single-day count topped 10,000 for the first time.

Besides the three athletes, those who tested positive for COVID-19 were 15 contractors, four Games-related officials, four volunteers and one member of the media, according to the organising committee.

The total number of cases in the Games village currently stands at 26.

As of Wednesday, 39,853 people from overseas had arrived in Japan to take part in the Games, it said.

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On Thursday, the organisers, while announcing 24 new COVID-19 cases, including three athletes, had insisted that the showpiece is not behind the record surge in the host city.

Reacting promptly, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) spokesperson Mark Adams said the Games are not responsible for the surge in coronavirus infections in Tokyo, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Authorities are alarmed by the Japanese capital setting an all-time high and closing in on 4000 cases, only a day after crossing the 3000 mark for the first time. The host city is in a state of emergency with COVID-19 infections at a record high.

Japan has kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries, but its seven-day average is increasing, according to the country’s health ministry.

IOC spokesman Adams on Thursday said there was nothing to suggest a link between the Games and the rising figures.

“As far as I’m aware there’s not a single case of an infection spreading to the Tokyo population from the athletes or Olympic movement,” he had told reporters here.

“We have the most tested community probably anywhere… in the world, on top of that you have some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in the athlete’s village,” he added.

Adams said only two people associated with the Games are in hospital, and half of all those needing care are being looked after by their own medical teams.

“Of 310,000 screening tests, the rate of positivity is 0.02 percent,” Adams had said.

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