• Staff report, Jiji

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Tokyo confirmed 1,429 new COVID-19 cases on Monday — nearly double last week’s figure and the most ever for a Monday as the nation struggles to contain a new wave of infections amid the Olympic Games.

Monday’s figure marked the seventh straight day with over 1,000 cases reported.

New daily infections in the capital averaged 1,553.9 in the week to Monday, compared with 1,100.4 the previous week.

Tokyo reported 78 COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms, an increase of six from Sunday.

Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures also saw high numbers of COVID-19 cases Monday. Chiba Prefecture reported a single-day record 509 infections, Saitama Prefecture reported 549 infections — its most ever for a Monday — and Kanagawa Prefecture logged 540 cases.

Early signs of a surge are also emerging outside Kanto. Osaka Prefecture, which was hard hit by the country’s fourth wave of infections, reported 374 cases, and Hyogo Prefecture saw 75 cases.

Elsewhere, Okinawa Prefecture confirmed 116 cases and two coronavirus-linked deaths, while Hokkaido reported 137 infections and one death.

Olympic organizers reported 16 more coronavirus cases on Monday, including three infections among athletes, as the spectator-free Tokyo Games continued under tight restrictions.

Health experts warned last week of a possible “critical” coronavirus situation in Tokyo, as they estimated infections could surge even further in early August during the Olympics. The experts advising the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said the seven-day moving average of new infections in the capital could reach 2,600 per day as of Aug. 3 if the virus continues to spread at the current pace, a worse scenario than in the third wave that swept across Tokyo in the winter.

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