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Tokyo Reports Record-High Number of COVID Cases Just Days After Olympics Begin

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Tokyo is experiencing a record-high number of COVID-19 cases, just days after the Summer Olympics began.

On Tuesday, Japan's capital reported a daily case count of 2,848, according to government health data. The number exceeds its earlier record of 2,520 daily cases, which was set Jan. 7.

The Olympics began on Friday, July 23.

Despite the surge in cases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that there is no reason to suspend the Summer Games, the Associated Press reported.

"There is no worry about that," Suga told reporters, according to the news service.

He speculated that the Games may have actually decreased exposure among the city's residents, because of traffic control and remote work situations in place to accommodate the Games.

The Olympic Flame burns after the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony
The Olympic Flame burns after the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony

FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

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Still, Suga once again asked everyone to avoid non-essential travel, telling residents to "please watch the Olympic Games on TV at home," the AP reports.

Tokyo is currently under its fourth state of emergency, which is expected to continue through the Olympics and end just before the Paralympics start in late August.

Since the pandemic began last year, Tokyo has documented over 200,000 cases of the virus. Just under 3,000 people are currently hospitalized for COVID.

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Experts say many of the serious cases are now among the younger, unvaccinated populations. Only about 25.5% of Japanese residents have been fully vaccinated, which is well below the threshold thought to reduce overall infection risk, according to TIME.

A general view outside the stadium as fireworks are let off during the Opening Ceremony
A general view outside the stadium as fireworks are let off during the Opening Ceremony

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

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The Tokyo Olympics are being held from July 23 to Aug. 8 without international fans in attendance.

So far, at least 123 cases tied to the Olympics have been reported. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto previously said he was not ruling out an 11th-hour cancellation of the Olympics, should the situation drastically deteriorate.

"We will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases. We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again," Muto recently said. "At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

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