Tokyo, April 9 2021: Only a few weeks ago, Japan’s government had lifted a state of emergency and now they are again approving tighter restrictions, calling for restaurants and bars to close at 8pm and a threat of fines if people fail to comply. The new measures covering central Tokyo and other selected areas are expected to be announced later Friday and will be in place from Monday until May 11
Coronavirus hot spots such as Osaka were already under lock down and the Olympic torch was kept off public roads. The pandemic-delayed 2020 Games are due to open on July 23 in Tokyo, but a surge in cases in parts of the country is creating new concern.
In January, the government imposed a virus state of emergency across several regions and then lifting it gradually, with Tokyo exiting the measure last. But there has since been a rebound in cases.
Although Japan has avoided the severe Covid-19 outbreaks seen elsewhere and has suffered around 9,300 deaths its vaccine rollout is moving slowly, with only the Pfizer/BioNTech jab approved so far, and physicians have reported the spread of more contagious variants.Approvals for Moderna are not expected before May,
Golden Week Tourists hot spots, Kyoto city and areas of Okinawa which are flooded with visitors during the Golden Week holiday period from late April to early May are also under stringent restrictions. Olympic organizers are pressing ahead with preparation for the Games, with national swimming qualifiers under way this week though some events involving international officials and participants have been postponed because of Japan’s strict anti-virus border controls.
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