Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has extended and expanded the coronavirus state of emergency until the end of May.
NHK World reported that Tokyo, Osaka, and four other prefectures will take anti-virus measures in an effort to stop the spread of variants and ease the strain on hospitals.
Suga addressed growing concerns from the public about Japan’s ability to host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, as a new poll showed that nearly 60 per cent of people in Japan want the rearranged Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo to be cancelled.
“We are considering strict anti-virus measures, such as testing Olympic athletes for the coronavirus every day. By implementing those measures, we believe we can hold the Games safely and securely, while protecting people’s health and their lives.”
Suga said the International Olympic Committee has struck a deal with Pfizer to provide enough vaccine doses for all participants. And the athletes will not have any physical contact with the public.
John Coates, the IOC’s vice-president, claimed that while Japanese sentiment about the Games ‘was a concern’, he could foresee no scenario under which the event, due to open on 23 July, would not go ahead.
Across the country, over 7,000 new infections were reported on Saturday 8 May, the highest figure in almost four months.