Tokyo declares state of emergency over coronavirus case surge but promises ‘safe and secure’ Olympics
Japan’s PM has cited a “strong sense of crisis” while placing the Tokyo metropolitan area in a state of emergency over a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, even as the Japanese capital gears up to host the Olympics this summer.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to improve the coronavirus situation in one month, authorizing more robust measures on Thursday to fight a surge in infections. The announcement comes days after the prime minister’s coronavirus expert panel recommended that a state of emergency should be declared and governors from the affected prefectures urged the central government to act, due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The state of emergency will come into force on Friday, lasting until February 7, and will require residents to stay home. Restaurants and bars will close at 8pm, with department stores, gyms, and entertainment facilities working shorter hours.
Employees will be encouraged to work from home to reduce the number of people in the office by 70 percent.
It’s the second declaration of emergency since April, and the measures are more relaxed, as schools and many businesses were temporarily closed and events cancelled nationwide in the spring.
Those that fail to comply will not face penalties or fines, as Japanese law does not allow for strict lockdowns enforced with punishment. The government will increase financial support for those bars and restaurants that cooperate with the requirement to close by 8pm, and “name and shame” those that do not.
Despite the health crisis, the prime minister pledged earlier this month that Tokyo would host the Olympics this summer, promising that “steady preparations” would make the games “safe and secure.”
Japan and the International Olympic Committee decided in March last year to postpone the Games amid the developing coronavirus pandemic.
Deaths from Covid-19 in Japan have doubled in less than two months and now stand at more than 3,700, with the total number of infections at more than 252,000. The Tokyo governor said last month that the strain on the city’s medical system from the Covid-19 pandemic was “severe.”
In late December, Japan confirmed that the new highly contagious strain of coronavirus originating in the UK is circulating in the country, and it has tightened travel restrictions.
The Japanese government reportedly expects to start mass vaccination against coronavirus in March. US-based vaccine manufacturer Pfizer applied in December for its vaccine to be approved in Japan, with the country ordering 120 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Courtesy of rt.com
Coronavirus: Tokyo Olympics to be postponed until 2021 over pandemic #COVID19 #coronavirus #Olympics #Tokyo #Japan #pandemic
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed for a year during talks with organisers.
Mr Abe held talks with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Monday and said a postponement is unavoidable if the 2020 games cannot take place this year due to measures taken to combat COVID-19, NHK television reported.
The IOC has said it will make a decision on the future of the games in the next four weeks.
Courtesy of Sky News
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This year’s Olympics could be hosted right here in London after fears coronavirus might force Tokyo 2020 to be moved, according to the city’s mayoral candidates.
The global sporting event, which is held every four years, is meant to be hosted by Japan this year but comparable events across Asia are being cancelled over fears they will force help spread the deadly virus.
Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey told CityAM: “Given the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, I urge the Olympic Committee to seriously consider how London could stand ready to host the Olympics should the need arise.
“We have the infrastructure and the experience, and if I am elected I will make sure London is ready to host the biggest sporting celebration again, if we are called on in an hour of need.”
In agreement, Mayor Sadiq Khan also told the paper that London will “step up” if needed.
A spokesperson for the paper said: “Everyone is working towards what will be a fantastic Tokyo Games. In the unlikely event that it be required, London, as it has done throughout history, will do its best to step up to the plate.”
The death toll for the virus has now risen above 2,000 globally but all but six have been in China, where the infection started, and none of these have happened in Britain.
Courtesy of mylondon.news