• Staff Report


Tokyo confirmed 716 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, a large increase from the 534 reported a week before as a surge in the capital continues in the final lead-up toward the Summer Olympics.

The capital’s neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama reported 254, 157 and 116 cases, respectively. Kanagawa has now logged over 200 cases for four consecutive days.

Osaka Prefecture tallied 148 new cases, while Okinawa, the only prefecture still under a state of emergency, reported 76 new cases. Hokkaido logged 30 and two deaths. Hyogo Prefecture saw 22 infections and Aichi tallied 45.

The capital’s daily infection tally averaged 563.1 in the week to Saturday, compared with 476 the previous week.

The number of people severely ill with the coronavirus in Tokyo under the metropolitan government’s standards stands at 50, down four from Friday.

“The virus is rebounding in Tokyo,” Norio Ohmagari, a top adviser to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the director of the Disease Control and Prevention Center at Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine, said earlier this week.

“There’s reason to believe this surge will spread further than the fourth wave,” Ohmagari said. “To stop variants from spreading further, containing and reducing foot traffic is paramount.”

New cases in the capital could reach 1,000 infections a day and eventually 2,000 a day “in the most optimistic scenario,” according to a report published on June 27 that was authored by four scientists including Hitoshi Oshitani, an epidemiologist at Tohoku University and one of the central government’s top infectious disease advisers.

Japan reported 1,778 new infection cases and 25 fatalities on Friday. The number of severely ill patients fell by six to 511.

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