Japan reports over 3,000 new COVID-19 cases as Olympics draws near

Olympics events in Tokyo to have no fans

Japan reported 3,103 new cases of COVID-19 and three new deaths related to the Sunday, bringing the caseload to 841,499 and the total deaths to 15,049, according to local media NHK.

Tokyo, the host city of the 32nd Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, has re-entered a state of emergency in the face of the most severe epidemic situation in the country.

Tokyo reported 1,008 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as the day marks the fifth consecutive day that daily cases of the capital exceeded 1,000, which came just days after the fourth COVID-19 state of emergency of Tokyo was declared and less than a week before the start of the Olympics on July 23.

The fourth state of emergency in Tokyo, lasting until August 22, 2021 will cover the duration of the Tokyo Olympics.

According to the latest data, an average of 1,068.3 confirmed cases were added in the past week in Tokyo, up 145.6 percent from the previous week, showing a significant rebound in the city.

Postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics will open in four days’ time on July 23.

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Tokyo Olympic organizers confirmed on Sunday that two athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Olympic village and are now isolated in their rooms.

This came after a non-athlete in the village tested positive for coronavirus earlier on Saturday, and these two confirmed cases are the first among competitors.

At a press conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya said the two athletes are from a same country and same sport, and they were isolated as soon as they returned positive tests. No names or other information were provided.

Late on Saturday, Ryu Seung-min, president of the South Korean table tennis association and a former Olympic champion, tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival at Narita International Airport, according to his social media post.

At the press conference, organizers also detailed countermeasures against COVID-19 and Japan’s brutal summer heat, saying that hand sanitizer, alcohol disinfectant sheets and medicated hand soap would be distributed.

Athletes are also asked to maintain social distancing and wear masks, and are offered lounges with air conditioning, water and ice baths. Organizers also provided additional countermeasures for specific sports, such as a water supply for cycling road events and a horse cooling station for equestrian events. Volunteers are to be supplied with salt tablets and cooling items.

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