Tokyo — Japan plans to step up its antivirus measures in Tokyo on Friday to curb the rapid spread of more contagious coronavirus variants just three months before the Olympics begin in the capital.
Experts from the government panel have given preliminary approval for emergency measures, including binding orders in Tokyo, Kyoto in western Japan, and Minamijima Island in Okinawa. The measures that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga plans to announce late Friday will begin on Monday and continue until early May.
This step included a non-binding requirement to pay attention to basic precautions to business owners and residents within three weeks of the end of the emergency in Tokyo.
The proliferation of viruses in Tokyo underscores the difficulty of balancing antivirus and the economy.
The Suga administration has been criticized for taking too late measures against viruses because it hesitates to damage the economy, which has already been hit by a pandemic. The new measures will allow county leaders to target specific cities and issue binding orders. This is aimed at preventing another emergency, says Suga.
Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, said she was wary of the recent increase in viral cases and the potential impact of new variants. Koike called on residents on Thursday to avoid basic measures such as unnecessary travel and social distance. She is also expected to issue an order to close bars and restaurants at 8 pm.
Additional measures will come a few days after the government has designated Osaka as a new combined antivirus measure due to a resurgence condemning the spread of the variant. Osaka declared emergency measures after the hospital was overwhelmed by new cases and removed the Olympic torch relay next week from public roads.