Japan is attempting to alleviate the virus’s state of emergency ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
Japan’s coronavirus emergency is anticipated to lessen this weekend in Tokyo and most other locations, with new daily cases declining just as the country gears up for the Olympics, which begin in just over a month.
Since late March, Japan has been fighting a surge of illnesses fueled by more contagious variations, with daily instances exceeding 7,000 at one point and very ill patients overwhelming hospital capacity in Tokyo, Osaka, and other major cities.
Daily cases have drastically decreased since then, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to downgrade the state of emergency to a less severe quasi-emergency for many weeks when it expires on Sunday.
Despite medical professionals’ and the public’s concerns about the Olympics’ possible risks, Mr Suga has stated that the games will be held in a “safe and secure” environment beginning July 23.
Holding the Olympics before the autumn elections is also a political risk for Mr Suga, whose popularity has plummeted due to public dissatisfaction with his virus measures, including a vaccination drive that has been criticized as being too slow and a lack of clarity on how he will prevent the virus from spreading during the Olympics.
Government-appointed specialists met on Wednesday to assess the situation ahead of Mr Suga’s decision on the emergency measures, and expressed concern that infection rates could rise again once the measures are lifted.
After more consultations, Mr. Suga is scheduled to make a final decision on Thursday.
It is critical to discourage individuals from roaming around during the Olympics and summer vacations in order to avoid another increase.
Mr Suga declared a state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, and two other areas in late April, and has since expanded the area to ten prefectures and extended the measures twice.
Hard lockdowns are not enforced in Japan, and the state of emergency permits prefectural governors to impose non-essential company closures or shortened hours in exchange for compensation for those who comply and sanctions for those who do not.
For the, stay-at-home and other measures are available. (This is a brief piece.)