Japan COVID cases hit 1 million as infections spread beyond Tokyo


TOKYO, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Japan reached the milestone of one million coronavirus cases on Friday, domestic media reported, as infections surged in Olympic host Tokyo to other urban areas and the country grapples with an unprecedented speed of spread of the Delta variant.

A driver of Finance Minister Taro Aso had caught COVID-19, the Ministry of Finance said, prompting Aso to self-quarantine at home. Aso has shown no symptom but had a PCR test, results of which will be known on Saturday, Kyodo news wire reported.

With a record 15,645 new cases reported on Friday, the total since the pandemic began last year is now above one million, tarnishing Japan’s early success in containing the disease.

It still has the lowest cumulative cases per population among the Group of Seven most industrialised countries, less than a tenth of U.S. and one-fifth of German cases.

The number increased by 144,000 since the Tokyo Olympics began on July 23. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated that he did not think holding the Games contributed to rising infections.

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