covid-19:-japan-extends-state-of-emergency-just-before-olympics

Covid-19: Japan extends state of emergency just before Olympics

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image copyrightEPA

image captionThe restrictions will now end just weeks before the Olympics is due to start

Japan has extended a Covid-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and nine other regions for another three weeks.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that although infection were falling they remained high, and that some hospitals were still under strain

Restriction will be in place until 19 June, five weeks before the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are due to start.

Organisers said they would wait until the emergency ends on 20 June to decide whether to allow local fans to attend.

Overseas fans have already been barred.

Experts said the daily infection rate in Tokyo has to fall below 100 in order for the city to safely host the Games. On Thursday, there were almost 700 new infections in the capital.

Mr Suga said hospitals were still overwhelmed in some regions, such as Osaka.

“The next three weeks are an extremely important period in achieving results in infection prevention and vaccine inoculation, a two-pronged strategy,” he added.

“From the bottom of my heart, I ask for everyone’s understanding and co-operation.”

image copyrightReuters

image captionPrime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the next three weeks are “extremely important”

The state of emergency was first put in place on 23 April, for an initial period of two weeks. This is the second time it has been extended.

Under the restrictions, bars and restaurants have to limit the sale of alcohol and close early. The measures also cap the number of audience members at events.

Seiko Hashimoto, head of Tokyo 2020, told reporters that with the restrictions in place they “expect the infection situation to improve”.

“Once the state of emergency is lifted, we will assess how many spectators we can allow in,” she said.

She added that there could be different rules for indoor and outdoor venues.

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