Tokyo's new COVID-19 infections hit highest in 5 weeks

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FILE PHOTO: An advertisement truck, operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Government office, displaying messages that warns against the spread of the N501Y mutant COVID-19 strain, drives on the street in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo reported 716 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, its 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.

Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures are among areas under a "quasi" state of emergency set to run through July 11, but Japan may extend the measures by two weeks or more due to a recent uptick in infections.

The coronavirus surge comes as Olympic organisers struggle to decide whether to allow spectators at the Games, which start on July 23.

Having decided to ban overseas spectators, the organisers have capped the number of domestic spectators at 10,000 per venue for the Games, or 50% of capacity, despite medical experts saying no spectators would be the "least risky" option.

Saturday's COVID-19 number is the highest since May 26, when Tokyo had 743 new infections.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by William Mallard)

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