Japan recorded a surge in new coronavirus cases on January 12, with infections reaching four-month highs in the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka as the Omicron variant spreads.

The Olympics host city Tokyo, as well as Thailand and Malaysia, announced record Covid-19 infections on July 31, mostly driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant of the disease.

Tokyo’s 2,848 COVID-19 infections on July 27 were the Olympic host city’s highest since the pandemic began, officials said, as media reported that authorities had asked hospitals to prepare more beds for patients as the Delta variant drives the surge.

Tokyo Olympics organizers on July 18 reported the first Covid-19 cases among competitors residing in the athletes’ village, as its population swells ahead of the start of the pandemic-hit Games.

Tokyo reported the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in almost six months on July 14, with the Olympics due to open in the capital in just nine days.

The Olympics will take place without spectators in host city Tokyo, organizers said on July 8, as a resurgent coronavirus forced Japan to declare a state of emergency in the capital that will run throughout the Games.

Tokyo reported 716 new Covid-19 infections on July 3, the country’s highest in more than five weeks, as the nation considers extending pandemic restrictions in the capital just weeks before it is to host the Olympics.

Japan extended on May 7 a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May to stem a surge in coronavirus cases, but Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated that it is still possible to host the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Japan’s government is considering a state of emergency for Tokyo and Osaka as new Covid-19 case numbers surge, broadcaster NHK reported on Wednesday, a move that would enable prefectural authorities to impose curbs to try to stop infections spreading.

Japanese health authorities are concerned that variants of the coronavirus are driving a nascent fourth wave in the pandemic with just 109 days remaining until the Tokyo Olympics.