Japan Declares COVID emergency, Olympics to Continue

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Japan on Friday extended the state of emergency in Tokyo and other cities till May end.

But the Prime Minister of the country restated that the summer Olympics might not get postponed.

Currently, Japan expects a “short and powerful” state of emergency, containing the fourth wave of infection. Although new cases keep on ascending in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka at higher levels.

The extension of the emergency from May 11 to May 31 will leave a margin of fewer than two months before the July Olympics are scheduled.

In a recent news conference, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga emphasized that the country is fully capable to host “a safe and secure Olympics”.

During the Olympics, Japan will follow appropriate COVID -19 containment measures.

But the residents of Japan want the Games to be cancelled. About 230,000 people had already signed a petition regarding this, as of Friday.

“We are putting all our efforts into stemming the spread of infections,” Suga said, after admitting that he was “aware” of concerns about the Games.

According to him the organizers of the games will take care of all the measures, to protect the health of the Japanese public.

Being not affected by the virus as much as the other countries are, Japan’s vaccination campaign has been slow. Out of 126 million people, only 2% of the population has been vaccinated.

Overall, Japan has recorded 618,197 coronavirus cases and 10,585 deaths, government figures show.

In this emergency bars, restaurants, karaoke parlours and other services will be closed.

Extended Measures

The government placed the Aichi region, home to Toyota Motor Corp, and the Fukuoka region in the southwest under a state of emergency – joining Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto, where current measures began on April 25.

Among eight other regions, the Northern Island of Hokkaido was also added under a “quasi-state of emergency”.

The upcoming test events for the Olympics includes an athletics event that will be held on the weekend. It will not be affected by the leeway of the state of emergency.

The diving World Cup, which featured more than 200 athletes from 50 countries, was held recently in Tokyo under the current state of emergency.

But Fukuoka region cancelled the Olympic torch relay scheduled for May 11 and 12 and is instead planning an alternative event. In this event, the torchbearers will pass the flame to each other.

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