Tokyo marks 100 days to go until Olympics amid virus spike

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The landmark venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics - the National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the
The landmark venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics - the National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the "Ice Ribbon", is capped, Dec. 31, 2019. Photo by He Yong/People’s Daily

(dpa) – Tokyo marked 100 days to go until the postponed Olympics on Wednesday amid lingering uncertainty over whether the Games can be staged safely amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Olympic host city has been under a month-long semi-state of emergency over the pandemic since Monday amid a growing number of new infections.

“During this period, we will put our efforts to prevent the spread of infections and beat the coronavirus, and would like to be able to hold the Games with everyone,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at an event marking the occasion.

Tokyo confirmed 510 new daily infections on Tuesday, exceeding 500 cases for the first time in three days, while the western prefecture of Osaka reported a record 1,099 cases amid the rapid spread of new variants of the virus.

Speaking at a lower house committee, Shigeru Omi, who chairs the government’s coronavirus advisory panel, confirmed “the fourth wave” of coronavirus infections.

The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines has been extremely slow since its start in mid-February. Only 0.4 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Despite the pandemic, the Olympics “certainly will happen,” John Coates, Tokyo 2020 coordination commission chair said in a video message.

“They will commence the Games on the 23rd of July,” Coates said.

He called the Tokyo Games “the best-prepared ever Games.”

In March 2020, the pandemic forced the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers to delay the Games by one year in an unprecedented move.

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