'State of emergency' declared for Tokyo as Japan mulls Olympics without fans amid COVID-19 crisis
Tokyo (Japan) | Jagran Sports Desk: Amid fears over a fresh wave of the deadly COVID-19 infection, Japan is once again mulling to impose a complete ban on spectators for the Tokyo Olympics that is scheduled to start in two weeks. It has also declared a "state of emergency" for Tokyo from July 12 that will continue till August 22.
"New cases in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area have been rising since June. Stronger measures have become necessary in those areas, but could be lifted early if we see evidence of the positive impact of the vaccine rollout," said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, as reported by The Japan Times.
Though Japan has banned overseas spectators, the organisers have allowed fans up to 10,000 at all venues for all the Olympic events. However, several Japanese medical advisers have asked the government to impose a complete ban on spectators, saying it would be the "least risky option".
Tokyo, where the games would be held from July 23 to August 8, is also witnessing a spike in daily COVID-19 cases which has created a panic among health experts that a fresh wave might hit Japan soon. It must be mentioned here that Tokyo on Wednesday had reported 920 fresh COVID-19 cases, the biggest single-day spike since May this year.
Japan's Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who also heads the government's coronavirus response, has said that Tokyo area is currently under slightly less strict "quasi emergency" curbs. Under the heightened restrictions, restaurants will be asked to stop serving alcohol, he noted.
"There’s a race between the vaccination of the public and the spread of the delta variant. Until the vaccine rollout makes further progress, it’s crucial that foot traffic is kept low leading up to summer break and the Bon holidays," Nishimura was quoted as saying by The Japan Times.
Areas neighbouring Tokyo where some Olympic events are also slated to take place, such as Chiba and Kanagawa, are set to remain under "quasi emergency" through August 22. The Olympic Games are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma