Tokyo's daily COVID-19 cases surpass 3,000 for 1st time

TOKYO -- The number of new COVID-19 cases in Tokyo reached 3,177 for the first time in a single day, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced Wednesday.

The all-time high comes just a day after Tokyo, hosting the Olympics since last week, marked 2,848 daily infection cases Tuesday, topping the earlier record of 2,520 cases logged on Jan. 7.

People wearing face masks wait for a train at Meguro station in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)

As the virus spread rapidly elsewhere, the nationwide tally of daily cases of infection reported on Tuesday exceeded 7,000 for the first time since May 12, nearing its record figure of about 8,000 recorded in early January.

Olympic organizers have pledged to perform strict restrictions for "safe and secure" games and emphasized that the number of infection cases among athletes and others associated with the sporting events is very low, while a fifth wave of the pandemic stimulated by the highly contagious Delta variant is putting pressure on hospitals in the Olympic host city.

The Japanese government has placed Tokyo under a fourth state of emergency from July 12 to Aug. 22, as restaurants and bars are required to stop offering alcohol and close early.

Tokyo's neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba, which are currently under looser quasi-emergency restrictions, are also witnessing the peak of infection cases with a number of their residents traveling to the capital.

Governors of the three prefectures are considering asking the government for the declaration of emergency states for their regions.