Japan will declare a state of emergency Covid-19 in Tokyo to go to the Olympic Games.
Yoshihide Suga, prime minister, will hold a press conference Thursday night to announce the measures, given the increased prevalence of the Delta variant leads to a rapid spread of coronavirus infections.
The new state of emergency means the Tokyo public will be organized to stay home even when the International Olympic Committee holds the world’s largest sporting event in its streets and stadiums.
The CIO insisted that the Games should go ahead even during a state of emergency, but the statement will likely lead to stricter restrictions for spectators. Tokyo 2020 is set to review its decision to allow maximum of 10,000 spectators, or 50 percent of total capacity, in the stages before the end of the week.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of Japan’s Covid-19 response, described the situation as a “race between vaccination and the spread of the Delta variant.” He said vaccinations will continue as soon as possible during the state of emergency.
After a slow start, that of Japan vaccine rollout he took rhythm, but gave a first dose to only 27 percent of the audience, leaving one large pool of unvaccinated people among which Covid-19 may spread.
On Wednesday, Tokyo reported 920 new cases of coronavirus, the highest daily number since May 13.
The new state of emergency will be the fourth in Tokyo, following previous statements in spring 2020, winter 2021 and spring 2021. Under previous restrictions, the public has been asked to work from home whenever possible and restaurants have been asked to close at 8pm. .
New precise edges have not yet been announced. Japan has a constitutional right to free movement, so all restrictions are voluntary. Previous states of emergency were effective in reducing Covid-19 cases, but medical officials were concerned about decreased compliance with the rules and the high transmissibility of the Delta variant.
“The Delta variant is moving rapidly, accounting for 7 per cent of cases across the country and 14 per cent in Tokyo,” said Norihisa Tamura, health minister. “With the idea that we would like this to be the last round of emergency measures, we will continue vaccination and address the coronavirus keeping in mind the wishes of the public.”
Okinawa will also remain under a state of emergency, but other major cities in Japan will not be covered by the restrictions, which should reduce the economic impact of the new measures.
“The economic recovery driven by exports and manufacturing is unlikely to be derailed,” said Takeshi Yamaguchi, a Japanese economist at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo, noting the smaller geographical scope of the new state of emergency. He added that families are adapting to online shopping.
However, there would be increased pressure for another round of fiscal stimulus, Yamaguchi argued, which could include more money distributions to lower-income individuals.