Japan logs record new coronavirus cases for 3rd day in row
JAPAN. KAZINFORM - Japan's daily total of COVID-19 cases hit 10,743 on Friday, logging a record figure for the third straight day, while Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has denied any linkage between the Olympics being held in the capital and the resurgence, Kyodo reports.
The nationwide tally of cases included 3,300 in Tokyo, which confirmed over 3,000 new cases for the third straight day, and record daily infections in the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa and Chiba, which logged 1,418 and 753 cases, respectively.
Although foot traffic in downtown areas has slightly decreased, the surge in infections comes amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Despite Suga's denial of a link between the Olympics and the rapid pace of infections, some experts say a festive mood during the sports event is leading to the public's complacency about COVID-19.
Hosting of the Olympics is «sending a contradictory message on prevention of the spread of infections,» Takaji Wakita, deputy head of the Japanese Association of Medicalcare Corporations who heads the health ministry's expert panel on the coronavirus response, told reporters after meeting with Suga.
Elsewhere, Osaka Prefecture logged 882 new cases, while Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, logged 853.
Tokyo's figure compares with 3,865 marked Thursday when it reported a record figure for the third straight day. The capital's seven-day rolling average of cases has risen to 2,501.4 per day, up 80.5 percent from the previous week.
The central government has placed Tokyo under a fourth state of emergency, mostly relying on a cooperative public and not imposing a hard lockdown as some countries have, from July 12.
Facing the urgent need to take stronger anti-virus measures, it decided Friday to add Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Osaka prefectures to areas under the emergency, which already covers Tokyo and Okinawa, from next Monday through Aug. 31.
The COVID-19 emergency initially declared for Tokyo and Okinawa through Aug. 22 will also be extended until the end of the month.