Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga expressed his thanks to the nation Monday for helping to deliver a safe Olympics despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted the Games were delayed by a year and held under tight restrictions, but said he believed Japan had been able to fulfil its responsibilities as the host country “and finish it safely.”
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of the citizens for your understanding and co-operation,” he said.
The 17-day Games that concluded Sunday were played mostly without spectators. Athletes stayed in an isolation bubble, quickly donned face masks off their field of play and had to leave Japan soon after their competitions ended.
Suga made his comments at a news conference in Nagasaki where he attended a memorial service marking the 76th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city in 1945.
He has been criticized as forcing the Games on a Japanese public that didn’t want them to be held during the pandemic.
Japan has counted one million infections and more than 15,700 deaths from COVID-19, faring better than many countries, but the delta variant is causing many recent cases and accelerating the spread of the virus.
Tokyo’s new daily count of cases more than doubled during the Olympics, with 2,884 recorded Monday for a prefectural total of 252,169 cases.
Tokyo Olympics organizers reported 28 new Games-related COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total since July 1 to 458 cases.
No Canadian athlete had tested positive for the virus as of Sunday, said Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith during the COC’s virtual closing news conference.
What’s happening in Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of Monday morning, more than 202.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to the coronavirus tracker maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.4 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s pharmaceutical regulator has granted provisional approval to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday,
The first one million doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive in September, with a total of 10 million doses arriving this year, Morrison said. Australia in May agreed to buy 25 million doses of the vaccine.
With only 22 per cent of Australians above 16 years of age fully vaccinated, Morrison has been under fire for a sluggish vaccine rollout. He acknowledged mounting frustrations, but urged people to be patient.
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia says it is giving the equivalent of $133,000 US to the family of each medical worker who died fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the kingdom.
The country’s health ministry has not said publicly how many of the kingdom’s 8,320 pandemic deaths involved health workers.
In Africa, more than 6.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed on the continent since the pandemic began in early 2020, and about 176,000 deaths have been attributed to the illness, according to the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa.
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In Europe, adults living in France will need to show a coronavirus health pass, starting Monday, to enter restaurants, cafés, planes, intercity trains and other public venues.
To get the pass, people must have proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and that they have recently tested negative for the virus or have recovered from COVID-19.
In the Americas, the cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 35.76 million as of Sunday, with the death toll reaching 616,828, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
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