Japan will extend Tokyo’s Covid emergency weeks before Olympics

Photo: AP

Japan is set to extend the current coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions less than two months before the opening of the Olympics, news reported citing government officials on Friday. A panel of experts has agreed to the government’s plan to extend the measure in Tokyo and eight other prefectures to 20 June as the country has failed to curb coronavirus infections amid the extremely slow pace of vaccinations and the rapid spread of new variants of the virus.

Experts in Tokyo on Thursday warned of a possible sharp increase in infections as more transmissible variants now account for more than 80% of recent cases in the Olympic host city.

Tokyo was placed under the state of emergency in late April amid surging cases, dpa recalls. Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga then prolonged the measure earlier this month, which prompted the postponement of a planned visit by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach to Japan ahead of the Tokyo Games.

The IOC and Japanese organizers are pushing ahead with the Olympics despite growing opposition to the event amid the pandemic.

Doctors and nurses across Japan have expressed strong opposition to the Games as hospitals feel the strain from rising infection numbers.

Last week, Bach proposed the IOC dispatch additional medical personnel to support coronavirus countermeasures in the Olympic Village and venues.

As of Wednesday, only 2% of the country's population of 125m has been fully vaccinated.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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