Tokyo at highest alert level as COVID cases spike

Tokyo has been put on its highest stage of alert for coronavirus infections, as cases in the Japanese capital have spiked to record levels on Wednesday (July 15).

Officials in the city have said that hospital patient numbers are “exceeding peaks” and now the alert level has been raised to red.

Infections among young people and asymptomatic cases are rising as fears over a second wave continue.

The Tokyo Olympics were due to begin in the city later this month, but have already been moved to 2021 because of health fears.

One prominent Japanese government adviser also suggested Wednesday that might not be the end to the rescheduling.

Kiyoshi Kurokawa warned if the virus mutated and triggered a second wave, the Games should be postponed again.

He also put the current spike in Tokyo cases down to people not sticking to health guidelines.

That comes a day after an announcement by the Japanese Olympic Committee confirming that there are ongoing discussions about a pared-down edition of the Games.

Chairman of the committee Yasuhiro Yamashita.

"The Games used to be gorgeous and extravagant, which I experienced before, and which used to be surprising and moving for everyone. But I don't think the concept of the Games will pursue these things.”

Yamashita himself is a former Olympic Judo champion. He said that athlete safety is the top priority.

Video Transcript

- Tokyo has been put on its highest state of alert for coronavirus infections as cases in the Japanese capital have spiked to record levels on Wednesday. Officials in the city have said that hospital patient numbers are, quote, exceeding peaks, and now the alert level has been raised to red. Infections among young people and asymptomatic cases are rising as fears over a second wave continue.

The Tokyo Olympics were due to begin in the city later this month, but have already been moved to 2021 because of health fears. Now one prominent Japanese government advisor also suggesting Wednesday that that may not be the end to the rescheduling. Kyoshi Kurukawa warned if the virus mutated and triggered a second wave, the games should be postponed again. He also put the current spike in Tokyo cases down to people not sticking to health guidelines. That comes a day after an announcement by the Japanese Olympic Committee confirming that there are ongoing discussions about a pared down edition of the games. Chairman of the Committee, Yasuhiro Yamashita.

INTERPRETER: The games used to be gorgeous and extravagant, which I experienced before, and which used to be surprising and moving for everyone. But I don't think the concept of these games will pursue these things.

- Yamashita himself is a former Olympic judo champion. He said athlete safety is the top priority.