Japan imposes new anti-virus measures in Tokyo prior to the Olympics

Tokyo (AP) — Japan raises coronavirus alert levels in Tokyo on Friday prior to the Summer Olympics to allow stricter steps to curb the rapid spread of more contagious variants Was announced.

Most people in the capital have not yet been vaccinated due to the delay in vaccination activities nationwide in Japan and the proliferation of infections.

With the increase in status announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the Governor of Tokyo will be required to reduce the opening hours of bars and restaurants, as well as punish violators and compensate observants. Measures will begin on Monday and will continue until May 11.

According to experts, many of the incidents in Tokyo are related to nightlife and food, but have recently spread to offices, nursing homes and schools.

Suga also raised the alert level in western Japan and Kyoto in the South Island prefecture, where cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks. Until May 5, the end of Japan’s “Golden Week” holiday, new status will continue to discourage travel.

“We will do everything we can to contain the infections in the affected areas and prevent them from spreading nationwide,” Suga told reporters.

Under this measure, people are encouraged to avoid unnecessary trips outside the city, health officials patrol bars and restaurants to ensure that safety measures are followed, and geriatric care facilities. Mr. Suga said that the number of inspections at the restaurant will increase.

Alerts were raised on Monday in three areas: Osaka, adjacent Hyogo, and northern Miyagi. They have seen a surge in daily cases since early March, shortly after Japan reduced the partial, non-binding emergency that began in January.

It was emphasized that it would be difficult to balance anti-virus measures with the economy within three weeks of the state of emergency in Tokyo being lifted. The Suga administration has been criticized for being too late to implement anti-virus measures because it hesitates to further hurt the pandemic-hit economy.

Osaka declared emergency measures after the hospital was overwhelmed by new cases and moved the Olympic torch relay next week from public roads.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike called on the Kan government to raise the alert level of the capital on Thursday, but said she was wary of the recent increase in viral cases and the potential impact of new variants. She urged residents to avoid unnecessary trips and stay socially distant. Koike will place orders for bars and restaurants that will close at 8 pm.

Over a million people in Japan, or less than 1% of the population, have been vaccinated for the first of two vaccinations, and a surge in cases could further cancel Olympic-related events.

Inoculation of health care workers began in mid-February. Elderly people are scheduled to start shooting from next week to the end of June. The rest of the population is likely to have to wait until around July, and it is almost impossible for Japan to reach so-called herd immunity before the start of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23.