Published on : Friday, May 28, 2021
In light of the continued spike in COVID-19 cases, Japan is planning to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas by about three weeks until June 20, less than two months before the Summer Olympics open.
The state of emergency in the capital and eight other prefectures was set to come to end on May 31, 2021. However, the strain on the medical and healthcare systems continues to remain high as the country is still grappling with COVID-19 cases. There has been a rise in record number of critical COVID-19 patients even though new infections have comparatively slowed down.
Doctors, businesses and thousands of citizens across the country have urged to cancel the Olympic Games, set to start on July 23, due to rising concerns about new variants of the novel coronavirus and a slow vaccination drive. However, Japanese Officials, Olympics organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have said the Games would go ahead under strict coronavirus-prevention measures, irrespective of Tokyo being under a state of emergency state at the time or otherwise.
Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is also in charge of the country’s coronavirus response team said in a statement that in Osaka and Tokyo, the flow of people is starting to creep up, and there are concerns that infections will rise. He also mentioned that the overall level of infections continues to be high and hence it is necessary to extend the state of emergency considering the current situation.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to officially announce the extension later on Friday, May 28, 2021. So far Japan has recorded about 727,000 coronavirus infections and 12,597. According to reports, about 6 per cent of Japan’s population has been vaccinated, which is one of the lowest among the world’s larger, rich countries.