TOKYO (July 12): The city of Tokyo which was set to host the Olympics in less than two weeks has entered a fresh state of emergency today, reported Reuters.
This comes after recent rises of the Covid-19 cases in Tokyo which have been particularly worrisome amid a vaccination roll-out that got off to a slow start and has faced supply glitches after speeding up, said the report.
Tokyo recorded 614 new cases yesterday, the 22nd straight day of week-on-week gains, and many areas were crowded with shoppers. Meanwhile, only about 28% of the population has received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, the report said.
Tokyo had been under a quasi-state of emergency since June 20, which puts fewer restriction on businesses. Under state of emergency, major commercial facilities including department stores will be asked to close by 8 pm. Attendance at large events such as sports games and concerts will be capped at 5,000 people or 50% of a venue's capacity, whichever is fewer.
The capital entered into its first Covid-19 state of emergency in April 2020 and a second emergency in January this year.
Besides Tokyo, a Covid-19 state of emergency in Okinawa Prefecture, as well as a quasi-state of emergency in Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures, which had been set to expire on Sunday (July 11), will be extended to August 22, 2021.
To recap, organisers announced that spectators would be banned from nearly all venues last week with Japan residents being told to watch the Games on the TV.
The Games, which was supposed to run from July 23 to Aug 8 last year, was postponed until this year.
The report also noted that sports stars such as tennis player Novak Djokovic said on July 11 that he was “50-50” about competing at the Tokyo Olympics following the organisers’ decision to ban fans from attending and limits on the number of people he can take to the Games.
As for some of the sport’s biggest names, including Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, Serena Williams and Simona Halep have already announced decisions to skip the Games, the report added.
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