Japan To Expand Virus Emergency One Week Into Olympics
Umer Jamshaid 2 months ago Fri 30th July 2021 | 11:00 AM
Tokyo, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th Jul, 2021 ) :Japan's government will extend a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and impose the measure in four more regions on Friday, as cases surge a week into the pandemic-postponed Olympics.
The Japanese capital reported a record number of new infections on Thursday as daily cases nationwide topped 10,000 for the first time.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the government is acting "with a sense of urgency" and would announce a decision Friday on widening anti-infection measures.
Tokyo's current virus emergency, which shortens restaurant and bar opening hours and bans them from selling alcohol, is due to end August 22, but the government plans to extend it until the end of the month.
The extension will also apply to the emergency in southern Okinawa, and the restrictions will be expanded to three more regions around the capital and the western hub of Osaka, government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters on Friday.
"We need to send a strong message," said Japan's Health Minister Norihisa Tamura.
He noted infections are still rising in Tokyo and Okinawa despite the virus emergency, with the more contagious Delta variant accounting for around half of new cases in the capital.
"We are very concerned," he added.
"People find it hard to think about self-restraint when we're having this festival," he said.
Japan's coronavirus outbreak has been less deadly than in some countries, with around 15,000 deaths in total, despite avoiding harsh lockdowns.
Just over a quarter of the population has been fully vaccinated, and Suga said Thursday that inoculations were bringing down infection rates among the elderly.
Olympic organisers reported 27 new cases related to the event on Friday, including three athletes.
It brings the total this month to 225, including 98 who came from abroad for the Games.
"As far as I'm aware there's not a single case of an infection spreading to the Tokyo population from the athletes or Olympic movement," International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said Thursday.