health

Japanese government warns people to stay away from Olympics as state of emergency extended



Tokyo, already under its fourth state of emergency since the pandemic began, announced 3,300 new daily cases, after a record 3,865 on Thursday.

The state of emergency will now include three more areas near the capital and the western prefecture of Osaka.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a news conference the virus is spreading at an unprecedented speed largely because of Delta variant, adding he is worried the country’s hospital beds could become stretched.

“With a heavy heart, I want to ask everyone: until we see the impact of more vaccinations, I want you all to stay vigilant and implement infection prevention measures to the full,” he said, calling on people to watch the Olympics on TV at home.

Already, 64% of Tokyo’s hospital beds available for serious COVID-19 cases are filled as of mid-week.

The new emergency measures mean more than a half of the country now lives under some restrictions.

Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said the country had entered a new “extremely frightening” stage as cases are spiking even though the movement of people was not increasing.

Japan has imposed a series of “state of emergency” declarations, but the orders are mostly voluntary, unlike other countries which impose strict lockdowns.

Yet many people have grown weary of stay-home requests, with some bars refusing to adhere to service restrictions.

Suga and Olympics organisers have denied there is any link between the games and the recent sharp spike in cases.



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