GETTING WORSE People wait to get coronavirus testing at a testing site in Seoul, South Korea on July 21, 2021. South Korea reported a surge in Covid cases in the last 96 hours. AP PHOTO
South Korea is reporting 1,842 newly confirmed coronavirus cases for the previous 24 hours – setting a new pandemic single-day record for the second straight day – while Japan reported the same grim scenario a day before the opening of the 2020 Olympics.
The cases announced on Thursday raised the country’s total caseload to 184,103 with 2,063 deaths from Covid-19.
The new cases include 270 sailors who were recently flown home after a large-scale outbreak on their destroyer engaging in an anti-piracy mission off East Africa.
South Korea has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks amid a slow vaccination campaign, lax public vigilance and the spread of the more contagious Delta variant. The country’s daily caseload has been above over 1,000 for 16 consecutive days.
Health officials said they are discussing whether to extend the toughest distancing restrictions imposed on the densely populous Seoul metropolitan area.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Tokyo Olympics should not be judged by the tally of Covid-19 cases that arise because zero risk is impossible.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tells the International Olympic Committee what matters more is how infections are handled.
Tedros wants Tokyo’s success to be judged by how “cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted.”
The number of games-linked Covid-19 cases in Japan this month is now 79. More international athletes have tested positive at home and cannot travel.