Japan’s government has extended the state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and eight other prefectures as public health officials tackle the coronavirus situation.
The measure will now remain in place in those areas until March 7. The number of people who have tested positive in Tokyo now stands at 101,466.
Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide announced the decision in a meeting of the coronavirus taskforce on Tuesday. Suga added that he will lift the state of emergency before March 7 if situations improve.
Three coronavirus variants have been detected in Japan so far: the UK strain, and types found in people returning from South Africa and Brazil.
Japan has not yet started its vaccine roll-out, which is expected to begin later this month with 10,000 medical workers to receive the first jabs.
Although Japan has ordered 314 million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, supply issues may prevent them from receiving enough supplies by June, too late to have an impact on the rescheduled Tokyo Games.
The president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, said . . . “No matter what situation would be with the coronavirus, we will hold the games,”
The Olympic Torch relay, starts on 25 March and will crisscross the country for four months with 10,000 runners headed to Tokyo.
Both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 have insisted that vaccines are not a “silver bullet” for the Games going ahead this year.
Some countries are reported to be offering the vaccine to athletes preparing for the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo.
This has led to criticism with claims the athletes are reciving the vaccine ahead of vulnerable people who are more in need, as well as front-line workers.
While the Olympic Games debate continues, it was announced that the Invictus Games in The Hague has been postponed for a second time, it is thought the Games will take place in the spring of 2022.