JAPAN – There has been a surge of coronavirus cases following infection clusters in various parts of Japan. Despite the country’s current coronavirus measures, Japan has reported an all time high daily cases of over 20,000 on Friday 13th August. Currently, only around 37 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Some members of the public are attributing the rise in cases to the country’s decision to host the Olympics amidst the pandemic. Others believe that the surge was not due to the Olympics. The government also stands by their decision as the numbers had already been growing prior to the Olympics that took place from 23rd July till 8th August. There is no evidence that points to the Olympics playing a role in the spread as strict safety measures were in place.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga addressed the media on Monday saying, “Infections continue to spread nationally on the largest scale ever”. There are concerns that the highly contagious delta variant will continue to spread like wildfire in the coming days. “The number of patients in serious condition is rising each day,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the coronavirus response minister. In a bid to tackle the situation, the Japan government will be extending and expanding the state of emergency till 12th September, across Tokyo and seven additional prefectures (Kyoto, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Hyogo, Shizuoka and Fukuoka). This includes the ban on selling alcohol in restaurants and bars and the 8pm curfew on these such establishments.
With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games set to run from 24th August – 5th September, a spectator ban will be in place.