On Tuesday, July 27, only days after the Olympics began, Tokyo announced the greatest number of new COVID-19 cases. Citizens were asked to stay away from non-essential activities, but the Games would not be suspended, said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
“There is no worry about that,” Suga said when asked if he is considering postponing the Games, noting that due to traffic restrictions and the government’s suggestion that they work remotely, people have been moving around less since the Games began.
Tokyo confirmed 2,848 new COVID-19, CCP (Chinese Communist Party) cases, breaking the city’s previous daily high of 2,520 instances set on January 7. Since the outbreak began last year, the total number of infectious cases has risen to above 200,000.
In a move to combat COVID-19, the Olympic Games in the Tokyo venues would be held under state emergency guidelines—their fourth since the pandemic began— without spectators, organizers announced on Thursday, July 8. This condition is scheduled to last until late August when the Paralympics begin.
While most Olympic Games will be held in the capital Tokyo, several events are being conducted in other areas. CNN reported that authorities may still accept fans in those venues.
“The number of infected cases in the area including Tokyo has been increasing since the end of last month,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus prevention measures.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics was meant to launch in July last year, but in the face of the perils with COVID-19 on the loose, it has been postponed until now. Resuming the event this year, its organizers have blocked international fans since March.
In the latest media polls, Suga’s popular support has dropped to roughly 30%, and there is little excitement surrounding the Games. His administration has been criticized for putting the Olympics ahead of the country’s health, according to critics.
When questioned about the increase in infections, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura stated it was not surprising given the global speed of delta cases. “Taking into consideration the global acceleration of infections because of the delta strain, which is taking over earlier variants, it was quite possible”, he said.
Instead of blaming the Olympics, Tamura criticized bars and restaurants that continue to serve alcohol despite a state-of-emergency restriction, the Associated Press reported.
However, the continuous surge despite two weeks of emergency methods, which center on restricted hours for restaurants and an alcohol prohibition, means those measures are unsuccessful, according to Kazuhiro Tateda, a Toho University infectious diseases expert who is on a government commission.
Infections could rise in the next weeks as a result of the Olympics and summer vacations, Tateda said in a statement obtained by NHK public television.
People in their 50s now make up the majority of almost 3,000 patients in Tokyo hospitals and are slowly filling vacant beds involved in many serious cases. Healthcare facilities would be supposedly asked to enhance their capacity for CCP virus patients to around 6,000 beds, the authorities reported.
The vaccination campaign in Japan ramped up in May for several weeks though it started late and slowly. That is due to the stability of imported vaccines and the authorities’ rush to vaccinate more people ahead of the Olympics.
25.5 percent of Japanese people are fully immunized, said the government.