Tokyo officials reported a record-high number of coronavirus cases Thursday for the third straight day as the Olympic Games in the city continue.
Japan’s health ministry reported 3,865 new cases, nearly 700 more than were reported on Wednesday. Tokyo’s governor warned that cases could climb to 4,500 a day.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a media briefing new infections are also spiking throughout Japan on a scale the country has never experienced.
The new outbreaks, however, are not preventing people from roaming the streets of Tokyo, despite stay-at-home requests.
“The biggest risk is the lack of a sense of crisis,” said Dr. Shigeru Omni, a senior government medical advisor.
In the United States, President Joe Biden is expected to announce Thursday that all civilian federal employees must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be subject to regular testing, mask requirements, social distancing and travel limitations, according to a source familiar with Biden’s plans.
The source said those who choose not to get vaccinated will not risk losing their jobs.
Nearly 2.2 million people are employed as civilian federal workers while another 570,000 are employed at the U.S. Postal Service, according to 2020 government data.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that nearly 67% of all U.S. counties were experiencing higher transmission rates, a nearly 4% increase from Tuesday. The coronavirus causes the COVID-19 disease.
Burundi said Wednesday it would endorse the use of COVID-19 vaccines, one of the last countries in the world to embrace them.
The country’s health minister, Thaddee Ndikumana, said the World Bank is helping with the effort to deliver vaccines to the East African country, although the ministry would not be responsible for any side effects they may cause.
It was not immediately clear how many doses would be delivered or when.
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, who died last year of cardiac arrest, was denounced for not taking the pandemic more seriously. His successor, President Evariste Ndayishimiye, said earlier this year that vaccines were not yet needed in the country of more than 11 million.
The availability of more vaccine doses has resulted in Africa entering an "encouraging phase after a bleak June," the World Health Organization said Thursday.
But WHO Africa Director Dr. Matshidiso Moeti told reporters that only 10% of the doses needed to vaccinate 30% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people have arrived. Less than 2% of Africans have been fully vaccinated, as wealthier countries continue to keep vaccines for their citizens.
As of early Thursday, COVID-19 had claimed the lives of nearly 4.2 million people worldwide and infected more than 196 million others, according to the John’s Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.