Japan’s government will declare a virus emergency in Tokyo on Friday and in four additional regions on Friday as the number of cases continues to rise one week before the postponed Olympics.
On Thursday, the Japanese capital saw a record number in new infections. The daily case count for Japan topped 10,000.
Tokyo 2020 organizers reported 27 new cases on Friday. This is the highest daily number yet, but they insist that there is no evidence linking the event to rising infections in Japan.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Sauga stated that the government is acting with “an urgency” and will announce Friday a decision on extending anti-infection measures.
The current virus emergency in Tokyo, which reduces the hours of bars and restaurants and prohibits alcohol sales, will end on August 22. However, the government has plans to extend it to the end.
Katsunobu Kato, a government spokesperson, said that the extension will also be applied to the emergency in south Okinawa. The restrictions will be extended to three additional regions around the capital, as well as the western hub of Osaka.
“We must send a strong signal,” stated Norihisa Tamura, Japan’s Health Minister.
He said that infections continue to rise in Tokyo and Okinawa, despite the outbreak of the virus. The more contagious Delta variant accounts for about half the new cases in the capital.
He added, “We are very worried.”
Tokyo Games, which began on July 23, have been held under strict virus rules. This includes a ban on spectators at all events and regular testing of participants.
Chair of the Tokyo Medical Association Haruo Ozaki warned that the Games had an “indirect effect” on Japan’s viral situation.
He said that people find it difficult to think about self-restraint while they’re having the festival.
Despite being kept out of harsh lockdowns, Japan’s coronavirus epidemic has not been as deadly as in other countries. There have been around 15,000 deaths from the virus.
Suga stated Thursday that just over 25% of the population is fully vaccinated. He also said that the inoculations are reducing the incidence of infection among the elderly.
Experts urge people not to lose their guard, and Tokyo government officials encourage younger people to get jabbed.
The Olympics will be held from August 8 through August 8. The Paralympics will take place between August 24 and September 5. Paralympic spectators are still not decided.
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Olympic organizers reported 27 new cases on Friday related to the event, including three athletes.
This brings the month’s total to 225, with 98 of them coming from overseas for the Games.
Organisers estimate that around 39,800 people came to Japan to participate in the Games, but deny that the Games are driving infection.
Mark Adams, spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee, stated that “as far as I know there has not been one case of an infection spreading from the athletes to the Tokyo population.”