Covid-19: Japan extends state of emergency, a week after the start of the Olympics

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during a press conference in Tokyo, July 30, 2021. AP - Issei Kato

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The Japanese government decided on Friday to extend the state of emergency in Tokyo and extend it to four other departments, as the health crisis worsens and also affects participants in the Olympics, which began a year ago. week. 

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With our correspondent in Tokyo,

Frédéric Charles

We have decided to extend the state of emergency in Tokyo and Okinawa (southwest) until August 31,

 " Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced at a ministerial meeting.

A state of emergency will also be declared in Osaka (west) and in three departments bordering Tokyo, he added.

In the Japanese capital, the Delta variant represents more than 50% of new cases of infection against 30% less than a month ago. The Minister of the Economy in charge of the fight against the virus, Yasutoshi Nishimura, believes that the peak of infections has not yet been reached. And he describes the situation as " 

extremely serious

 " before Parliament. In Tokyo, 64% of intensive care beds to accommodate Covid-19 patients are already occupied.

The state of emergency in Japan is limited to reducing the opening hours of bars and restaurants.

The government has no legal basis to impose coercive measures like in Europe.

Despite everything, the country suffers from " 

anti-restriction fatigue

 ".

And “ 

the party

 ” of the Olympics would cause some restaurants to ignore the state of emergency and their customers not to wear the mask.

 To read also: Tokyo 2021: the American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks package, positive for Covid-19

Only 26% of vaccinated

Doctor Kenji Shibuya, a specialist in infectious diseases, denounces " 

the inability of the government and the scientists who advise it to prevent the transmission of the virus

 ".

Their approach based on " 

smothering the foci of infection

 " has " 

failed 

", he adds.

Japan is counting on an acceleration of vaccinations to contain the pandemic.

Only 26% of Japanese are fully vaccinated, compared to 80% of participants in the Tokyo Games.

To read also: Covid-19 in Japan: a laborious vaccination campaign

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  • Japan

  • Coronavirus

  • Vaccines

  • 2020 Olympics

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