Japan extends emergency measures as covid-19 spikes during Olympics

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By Matthew Sparkes

Spectators successful  Tokyo hold   to spot    triathlon relay competitors connected  31 July

Spectators successful Tokyo hold to cheer connected triathlon relay competitors connected 31 July

Carl Court/Getty Images

Tokyo is seeing a record-breaking emergence successful covid-19 cases arsenic thousands of athletes and coaches alert successful from astir the satellite for the postponed 2020 Olympic games. But Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga denies immoderate nexus betwixt the lawsuit and the surging fig of infections.

Tokyo is presently successful its 4th authoritative authorities of emergency, which began connected 12 July up of the Olympics and is present expected to past until 31 August. The measures see an intoxicant prohibition successful bars and restaurants and reduced opening hours. Okinawa is already nether the aforesaid measures and Suga announced implicit the play that they would besides beryllium expanded to Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba and Osaka. Less stringent measures volition besides beryllium introduced successful 5 different prefectures: Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Hyogo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka.

The Olympics were primitively scheduled for 2020 but were postponed owed to the coronavirus pandemic. But the Olympics are present taking spot astatine a clip erstwhile the country’s coronavirus concern is worse than it was the erstwhile year, according to information connected cases.

Tokyo saw a crisp emergence successful covid-19 cases from the commencement of July and rates past week had doubled from those seen the erstwhile week. On 2 August, the metropolis reported 3058 caller cases and the corruption complaint successful Tokyo present stands astatine 88 radical per 100,000. Less than a 3rd of the Japanese colonisation has been afloat vaccinated.

On 29 July, much than 10,000 caller cases crossed Japan were reported for the archetypal time. This grounds was beaten conscionable days aboriginal erstwhile 12,340 cases were recorded connected 1 August, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“If the summation of corruption does not stop, the terrible symptoms cases volition summation and the aesculapian strategy whitethorn perchance beryllium further nether strain,” said Suga astatine a property conference.

Meanwhile, Shigeru Omi, seat of the government’s coronavirus subcommittee, told The Japan Times that determination was “barely immoderate prospect” of curtailing the outbreak.

“Lives implicit Olympics”

The Olympic games person been scaled down from archetypal plans, with lone a 3rd of the primitively expected 180,000 radical entering the country. Audiences are banned astatine astir events and athletes deterioration masks erstwhile not competing. But 27 caller covid-19 cases linked to the games were announced connected Friday, bringing the full truthful acold to 220. At slightest 1 jock has had to retreat owed to a affirmative test. Protests against the games person taken spot successful Tokyo, with hundreds marching connected the country’s nationalist stadium with placards urging the authorities to enactment “Lives implicit Olympics”.

Europe saw a akin emergence successful infections during the Euro 2020 tournament. A diminution successful cases implicit erstwhile months came to an extremity successful July successful portion due to the fact that of ample numbers of radical travelling to matches, said the World Health Organization. Germany’s interior curate Horst Seehofer said astatine the clip that the determination to let crowds was been “utterly irresponsible”.

But Kevin Tyler astatine the University of East Anglia, UK, says determination is nary wide grounds of a nexus betwixt the games and the emergence successful infections, due to the fact that competitors are tightly bubbled, and that the surging lawsuit numbers are alternatively down to the delta variant having made its mode to Japan.

“Ordinarily, determination would beryllium interest that influx and mixing of perchance infected radical from each implicit the satellite mightiness dispersed antithetic variants and beforehand mixing which could beryllium problematic successful producing caller variants by recombination, but the [Olympic] readying appears to beryllium beauteous cautious to debar that and segregate athletes from the wider population,” helium says.

The International Olympic Committee didn’t respond to a petition for comment.

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