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Tokyo reports record number of new COVID-19 cases as Olympics continue

(Natacha Pisarenko | AP)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:06 PM EDT
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(CBS News) - Tokyo reported its highest-ever daily number of new coronavirus cases on Tuesday as the Olympic Games continued in the city, under strict protection protocols.

The Japanese capital, which is under its fourth state of emergency, reported 2,848 new cases of COVID-19, breaking a previous record set in January and bringing the country’s case total to more than 200,000 since the pandemic began.

Spectators have been banned from the Olympic Village, and on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked anyone who might have been planning on gathering to watch outdoor events like cycling or marathon running to stay at home and avoid making any unnecessary trips.

Meanwhile, the city of Tokyo was reportedly planning to ask hospitals to add thousands of beds and postpone certain surgeries and other non-urgent medical procedures, according to local media.

Cases in Japan are rising sharply among young, unvaccinated people, the Associated Press reported.

Only 25.5% of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated, AP reported, and only 36% has received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to a Reuters vaccination tracker. Experts have warned that the new, highly contagious Delta variant could fuel a surge in coronavirus cases during the Olympics.

“The government has sent signals that people are supposed to stay home at the same time they celebrate the Games. It’s a totally inconsistent message,” Kenji Shibuya, a former director of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London who is now directing vaccine rollout in one Japanese town, told Reuters.

Protests have been ongoing in Tokyo since the games began, with demonstrators voicing their disapproval of the games due to the threat of the virus. Meanwhile on Tuesday, despite instructions to stay home, people were still gathering outside to take their photos by the Olympic Rings, CBS News’ Lucy Craft reported.

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