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Tokyo COVID-19 Infections Surge To 6-Month High Just 2 Days Before Olympics Open

TOKYO (AP) – COVID-19 infection in Tokyo hit a six-month high on Wednesday, with 1,832 new cases reported in the host city of the Olympic Games just two days before the Games.

Tokyo currently has a fourth state of emergency, which will last until August 22, covering the entire period of the Olympic Games, which starts Friday and ends August 8. Fans are prohibited from visiting all facilities in the Tokyo area and the number of spectators is limited. remote areas.

“What we’re worried about is now really happening,” Japan Medical Association president Toshio Nakagawa told a weekly press conference. “The increase in the number of cases was expected regardless of whether we have the Olympic Games or not, and we fear that their number will increase regardless of the Olympic Games.”

Cases among young, unvaccinated people are skyrocketing as vaccinations in Japan expire due to supply uncertainties, experts noted. Many of the serious cases are people in their 50s.

Vaccinations in Japan started late and slowly, but the pace of vaccinations skyrocketed in May for several weeks as supplies of imported injections stabilized and Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugi’s government desperately pushed for an accelerated campaign ahead of the Olympics.

About 23% of Japanese people are fully vaccinated, still well below the levels believed to have any meaningful impact on reducing risks to the general population.

Since the start of the pandemic, Japan has reported about 84,800 infections and more than 15,000 deaths, most since the last wave in January.

On Wednesday, experts warned that infections in Tokyo would only work in the coming weeks. Dr Norio Omagari, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Expert Group, said the average daily cases in Tokyo could reach around 2,600 in two weeks if continued at the current pace.

The Suga government has been criticized for the Olympic Games’ preference for the health of the nation, according to some. His support rating has dropped to about 30%, according to recent media polls, and there are few holidays ahead of the Games.

Dr. Shigeru Omi, the government’s chief medical adviser, last week called on the authorities to strengthen their efforts to combat viruses and asked people to avoid traveling out of town.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who is in Japan, said he hoped fans would be allowed if the situation improved, but Omi said it was impossible.

Associated Press author Kantaro Komiya contributed to this report.

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