Just months before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese government is set to raise the state of emergency in Tokyo and three other regions in about three weeks on Friday to stem the rise in novel coronavirus cases.
The government had hoped that there would be a fourth wave of transition between “short and strong” emergencies, but new cases in the capital, Tokyo, and the second city, Osaka, are still at a high level, said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the more responsible finance minister. Epidemic system.
Extending the state of emergency from May 11 to May 31 will leave less than two months before the start of the Games on July 23, which was a year behind due to epidemics.
Osaka is in a very dangerous situation with the medical system on Friday, “Nishimura said at the start of a meeting with a panel of medical and economic experts on Friday that the diverse strains are spreading rapidly.
“We have a strong idea that Tokyo could soon be transformed into the same situation as Osaka.”
The panel later approved the expansion plan, Nishimura said. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held a press conference at 7:00 pm (10:00 GMT) to set the date for formal government approval.
All hospital beds have been occupied for critical patients in Osaka, the public broadcaster told the NHK on Friday.
Official figures show that Japan has recorded 618,197 cases of novice coronavirus infection and about 10,585 deaths in Covid-19 across the country, a viral respiratory illness caused by the virus.
Nishimura said the government’s goal is to establish Tokyo and Fukuoka prefectures in the southwest under the state of emergency – including about a quarter of the population in Tokyo and Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto prefectures.
The northern island of Hokkaido and two other areas will be added to the territories under a “semi-emergency,” he said.
Under an emergency, bars, restaurants, karaoke parlors and other places where alcohol is served will be asked to stop serving alcohol, and people will be asked to avoid taking unnecessary trips.
However, other requests will be relaxed, Nishimura said.
For example, commercial facilities such as shopping malls would be asked to reduce opening hours instead of closing them altogether – although he noted that Tokyo and Osaka would make their own decisions based on local conditions.
Japan has not suffered as badly from the virus as other countries, but vaccination campaigns have lagged significantly, and many older people are still waiting for inoculation.
Nevertheless, Japan and the International Olympic Committee insisted that the Games would take place, although foreign spectators were banned. No decision has yet been reached on the domestic audience.
Upcoming Olympic Test events, including the Athletics event over the weekend, will not be affected by the escalation of the emergency. In the current state of emergency, Tokyo hosted the Diving World Cup last week, featuring more than 200 athletes from 50 countries.
U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. and German partner Bioentech SE said Thursday they will donate doses of their fancy coronavirus vaccine to help athletes and other members of the Olympic delegation inoculate.
Still, in Fukuoka, the Gulf governor said it could be “difficult” to host the Olympic torch relay in an emergency, the Gigi news agency reported Thursday.
The relay is set to take place in the prefecture on May 11 and 12.