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Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Latest: Tokyo hits 6-month high in cases before Olympics

Tokyo has hit another six-month high in new coronavirus cases, one day before the Olympics.

The 1,979 new cases Thursday are the highest since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the International Olympic Committee have been determined to hold the Olympics despite the pandemic. Suga placed Tokyo under a state of emergency on July 12, but daily cases have sharply risen.

Spectators are banned from all Olympic venues in the Tokyo area, with limited audiences allowed at a few outlying sites.

The emergency measures, which largely involve a ban on alcohol sales and shorter hours for restaurants and bars, are to last until Aug. 22, after the Olympics end on Aug. 8.

About 23% of Japanese are fully vaccinated, considerably short of the level believed necessary to have a meaningful effect on reducing the risk in the general population.

Japan has reported about 853,000 cases and 15,100 confirmed deaths, most of them this year.

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