Tokyo will again be in a state of emergency from Monday and throughout the period of the Olympics, which will end on August 8. The state of emergency, declared by the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, will last until August 22 in the Japanese capital.
“We need to take more stringent measures to prevent another outbreak in Japan, also given the impact of the coronavirus variants,” said Suga, whose task force also decided to extend the state of emergency by place in Okinawa.
This will be the fourth time Tokyo has entered a state of emergency since the pandemic began last year. The idea of the federal government is that this period of restrictions can end sooner, if the pandemic numbers decline in the country.
One of the consequences of the state of emergency affects the presence of the public in the Olympic arenas. The Tokyo Organizing Committee adopted the rule that stadiums can accommodate 10,000 people or 50% of their capacity (whichever is less). There are two possibilities: whether the audience limit at the sites drops to 5,000 fans or until the Games are held with closed doors.
The increase in cases has already prompted organizers to veto the Olympic Torch Relay on the streets of Tokyo to avoid crowds. The sale of alcoholic beverages in stadiums was also prohibited.
Besides Tokyo, a near-state of emergency, with fewer trade restrictions, will be extended until August 22 in Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and Osaka. Saitama is an important sub-seat of the Olympics, as it will host golf, basketball and football competitions. Hokkaido, Aichi, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka will end their restrictions on Sunday (11), as scheduled.
With the state of emergency, bars and restaurants are prohibited from selling alcoholic drinks and will have to close until 8 p.m. On the other hand, places in a state of emergency can also prohibit the sale of alcohol, but local communities have the autonomy to relax this rule.
“We want to prevent people from traveling during summer vacation and public holidays until vaccination progresses,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the country’s pandemic minister.
The government of Japan hopes that the situation in the country will improve with the acceleration of vaccination and that this will reduce the pressure on the national health system. According to the Our World in Data website, 15.2% of Japanese are immune and 26.5% have received at least the first dose. The last update was last Tuesday (6).
On the other hand, the pandemic continues to advance in Japan. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA), there were 2,180 new cases of Covid-19 in the country on Wednesday. The moving average rose again to 1.683. Since the start of the pandemic, 812,000 people have contracted Covid-19 in Japan. There were 14 more deaths on Wednesday, totaling 14,848 deaths from the disease so far.
The Tokyo metropolitan government, in turn, released 920 more infected on Thursday (8). This is the highest number since mid-May, when the fourth wave peaked in Japan. The moving average reached 632 and has risen daily since June 19. The fear is that with the arrival of foreigners from all over the world, the Olympics could become a propagator of the Delta variant, first detected in India, which is highly contagious.