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Officials Sound Alarm as Japan COVID Cases Hit Record Highs

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Japan (Al Jazeera) – The Delta variant, holidays and the Olympics are contributing to the rise in infections, the country’s top adviser warned.

Japanese officials are sounding the alarm as Tokyo reports record-breaking coronavirus cases for the third straight day with the Olympics well under way.

Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases in the past 24 hours, up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the numbers a week ago.

“We have never experienced the expansion of infections of this magnitude,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters on Thursday, adding that new cases were soaring not only in the Tokyo area but across the country.

Japan has kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries, but its seven-day rolling average is rising and now stands at 28 per 100,000 people nationwide and 88 per 100,000 in Tokyo, according to the health ministry.

This compares with 18.5 in the United States, 48 in Britain and 2.8 in India, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The country’s top health adviser Shigeru Omi also warned of the risk of putting the healthcare system under severe strain.

“If crisis awareness is not shared, sooner or later the pressure on the health system will become more serious,” Omi said at a committee meeting in Parliament.

“Apart from vaccination, there are not many other factors to bring down the infections,” he added.

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