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Tokyo COVID Cases at 6-Month High as Olympics Approach

Brock Fritz

Eight days out from the Olympic opening ceremony, Tokyo’s COVID-19 numbers are going in the wrong direction.

According to The Associated Press, Tokyo reported 1,308 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, a six-month high in Japan’s capital city. The mark is Tokyo’s highest number of new cases since 1,485 were recorded on Jan. 21.

Another 1,149 new cases were reported Wednesday, as cases in Tokyo have been climbing since mid-June. The AP reported that 19.7 percent of the Japan population has been fully vaccinated, while the country has 828,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15,000 deaths.

The Japan government has already put a plan in place to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Prime minister Yoshihide Suga declared last week that Tokyo would operate under a state of emergency from July 12 through Aug. 22. Fans will not be allowed in any Tokyo-area venues, while bars and restaurants must close early and refrain from serving alcohol.

Related content: Japan Plans State of Emergency Through Olympics

The state of emergency will last throughout the 2020 Summer Games, which will last from July 23 through Aug. 8.

“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,” Suga said.

“Many people were looking forward to watching the games at the venues, but I would like everyone to fully enjoy watching the games on TV at home,” Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said, according to The Associated Press. “It’s gut-wrenching because many people looked forward to watching at the venues.”

Prior to last week, Tokyo was scheduled to host 10,000 local fans into Olympic venues, with each indoor and outdoor venue holding 50 percent of its capacity.

Japan is officially spending $15.4 billion on the Olympics, which were postponed from last summer due to COVID-19. However, an estimate from Business Insider  in February put the total cost of hosting the Olympics at over $26 billion, with the cost of the previous postponement at $2.8 billion. Ticket sales alone were expected to account for about $800,000 million in revenue.

Related content: Fans Banned from All Tokyo-Area Olympic Venues

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