Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
As of 11 p.m., Thursday, July 22
- The Japanese government is considering asking Pfizer Inc. to speed up its delivery of COVID-19 vaccine beyond the fall amid concern about a supply shortage, a government source said Thursday.
- The Tokyo metropolitan government reported 1,979 new daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest number since mid-January, as fears grow that the Olympics could become a superspreader event amid the transmission of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
- Japanese Emperor Naruhito told International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach during their meeting on Thursday that it is "not easy" to hold the games while taking full measures against COVID-19.
- The Tokyo Games' organizing committee reported 12 new positive COVID-19 cases relating to the Olympics on Thursday, with two of the cases involving foreign athletes residing in the athletes' village.
- Australia has been regarded as one of the world's success stories in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but mixed messaging and a sluggish vaccine rollout has caused widespread frustration and confusion.
As of 11:40 p.m., Wednesday, July 21
- The Japanese government said Wednesday it will tighten border controls for visitors from some countries, including Myanmar and Iran, to prevent the spread of highly contagious new variants of the coronavirus.
- Tokyo Olympic competition began after a one-year coronavirus postponement Wednesday, the first pitch of a softball game between Japan and Australia in Fukushima marking the start of a games that almost did not happen.
- Five countries including Italy and Turkey have agreed to ease COVID-19 quarantine rules for travelers who have vaccine passports issued by Japan from next week, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
- The Tokyo metropolitan government on Wednesday reported 1,832 new COVID-19 cases, marking the highest daily figure since mid-January, as a resurgence of infections continues to fuel concerns ahead of the Olympics set to formally open on Friday.
- Health experts warned Wednesday of a possible "critical" coronavirus situation in Tokyo, as they estimated infections could surge even further in early August during the Tokyo Olympics.
- Chile's Olympic committee said Wednesday a taekwondo athlete will withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for the coronavirus, in the first known case of an athlete pulling out of the games after arriving in Japan.
- The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday it is not possible to reduce the risk of coronavirus to zero at the Tokyo Olympics, which will open later this week, and the success of the games should be judged by how well cases of infection are handled.
- The total number of COVID-19 deaths in India could be higher than 4 million, which is 10 times more than the government's official count, according to a U.S. research institute.