Japan plans to lift Tokyos virus emergency on 20 June, one month before games

Japan plans to lift Tokyos virus emergency on 20 June, one month before games
# 17 June 2021 09:42 (UTC +04:00)

Japan is set to announce a decision Thursday to ease a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and six other areas this weekend, with new daily cases falling just as the country begins making final preparations for the Olympics starting in just over a month, APA reports citing AP.

Japan has been struggling since late March to slow a wave of infections propelled by more contagious variants, with new daily cases soaring above 7,000 at one point and seriously ill patients straining hospitals in Tokyo, Osaka and other metropolitan areas.

Daily cases have since subsided significantly and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to downgrade the state of emergency when it expires on Sunday to less stringent measures.

Despite concerns by medical experts and the public over the potential risks of holding the Olympics, Suga has said he is determined to hold a “safe and secure” Games starting 23 July.

Holding the Olympics before elections in the fall is also a political gamble for Suga, whose support ratings have tumbled over dissatisfaction with his handling of the pandemic, a slow vaccination drive and a lack of explanation how he intents to ensure the virus doesn’t spread during the Olympics.

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