The Japanese government approved this Friday to strengthen measures against the coronavirus in Tokyo, less than three weeks after the suspension of the state of emergency and just over 100 days before the Olympic Games.
“Today we have decided to take intensive measures to prevent an epidemic in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa,” declared Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, after a meeting of ministers and government officials.
“We have made this decision because the number of infections increases and we fear that the medical system will be under pressure in these regions,” he added.
The Tokyo 2020 Games, postponed one year due to the pandemic, They start on July 23 in the Japanese capital, where the infections had fallen thanks to the state of emergency, but have increased again since the suspension of the restrictions on March 21.
The new measures – less severe than the strict confinements imposed in other countries – provide for the closure of restaurants and bars at 8:00 p.m., with penalty of fines for those who are reluctant.
The city of Osaka (western Japan) has decreed special measures after the increase in covid-19 cases, and has canceled the relay of the Olympic flame on public roads throughout the department.
From Monday until May 11, a large part of the Japanese capital will be subject to new measures that are generally similar to the previous state of emergency, but will allow more easily to focus on infectious outbreaks, according to the authorities.
“For crisis management, I have called for special measures to be applied in Tokyo,” city governor Yuriko Koike had told reporters on Thursday.
“It is urgent that we adopt more and stronger measures, such as reducing the flow of people between large cities, because otherwise, we will witness a spread of infections and more serious,” added Koike.
‘Roam freely’ in the Games
“With the aim of preventing a great spread of the virus during the Games and ensuring that everyone can move freely taking precautions, I think we must take measures to reduce the cases,” he insisted this Friday.
The city of Kyoto (west) and several areas of the Okinawa department (south) will also be subject to new measures until May 5, including the “Golden Week” holiday week during which they usually receive thousands of visitors.
Despite several waves of infection, Japan has been relatively unaffected by the coronavirus, with some 9,300 officially killed since January 2020.
But urban centers are witnessing an upsurge in covid-19 cases and health personnel report increasing pressure on hospitals.
Doctors have also warned of the rapid spread of the variants.
Vaccination is progressing very slowly in Japan, which has only approved the Pfizer vaccine so far.
Only health personnel have been vaccinated and next week it will be the turn of the elderly. At the moment, there is no date to administer the vaccine to the general population.