Japan aims precautions in Tokyo for the upcoming games

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Japan is ready to increase anti-virus measures in Tokyo on Friday to control the spread of a more contagious coronavirus variant. Japan has initiated just three months before the Olympics starts in the capital where the majority of people are not yet vaccinated.

On a government panel, experts gave approval to the emergency precautions that would consists of binding orders in various areas. Areas include binding orders in Tokyo, in Kyoto in western Japan, and in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa. The measure are expected to start by Monday and last till early may.

The step comes less than 3 weeks after Tokyo came out of state of emergency . It had included non-binding requests for business owners for shorter hours and for the residents to be mindful of necessary preventive measures.

The sudden increase of the virus in Tokyo underscores the problem of balancing anti-virus measures and the economy.

Suga’s government has been criticized for performing lazily on virus measures out of reluctance to damage the already pandemic-hit economy. The latest measures allow prefectural leaders to target particular cities and issue binding orders, which Suga says is directed to prevent another state of emergency.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said she is alarmed by the sudden rise in virus cases and possible influence of new variants. On Thursday, Koike called for the residents to prevent nonessential trips, social distancing and other basic measures. She is also expected to announce an 8 p.m. closure order for bars and restaurants.

The additional teps would arrive days after the government designated Osaka for the new binding anti-virus measures because of a resurgence blamed on the spread of the variant. Osaka has announced a medical emergency after its hospitals became over crowded with new cases and has taken next week’s Olympic torch relay off the public roads.

With Japan’s vaccination drive still at an early stage, less than 1% of its population have received their first of the two shots. The surge may cause further rerouting or cancelations of Olympic related events.

Immunizations started in mid-February with medical workers, and aged people are listed to get their shots starting next week through late June. The remaining population will have to wait till around July. Thus, making it almost impossible for Japan to reach so-called group immunity before the Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23.

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