Tokyo Olympics could extend coronavirus restrictions during Games period – media


  • Japan plans to extend measures to one month, media say
  • Detention may further limit domestic viewers
  • Recent rise in infections worries officials
  • Tokyo governor to work from home while recovering from fatigue
  • The capital portion of the torch relay will be removed from public roads

TOKYO, June 30 (Reuters) – Japan plans to extend coronavirus prevention measures in Tokyo and other areas from two weeks to one month, Japanese media said on Wednesday, less than a month before the opening of the Summer Olympics.

The capital of Japan and other regions are under a “near” state of emergency which must be lifted on July 12, but a recent increase in infections worries officials and could affect the number of spectators allowed at Olympic venues.

As infections in Tokyo hit 714, their highest since May 26, the Mainichi Shimbun daily said the government was considering an extension that would straddle the Olympics, which are due to open on July 23 after a year of delay on the pandemic.

“The number of new infections has remained low in many areas, but it tends to increase in Tokyo,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a ministerial meeting on the government’s response to the coronavirus.

“We intend to implement the (existing) measures thoroughly and introduce the necessary measures in a timely manner, while carefully monitoring the situation,” Suga said, without elaborating.

The state of emergency “almost” tops out at 5,000 spectators. Organizers of the Olympics said spectators would be allowed up to half the capacity of venues or a maximum of 10,000, although foreign spectators were banned.

Media said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will be working from home indefinitely after she was released from hospital early Wednesday, where she was recovering from fatigue.

Tokyo has decided to move the first half of the 15-day Olympic torch relay scheduled in the capital off public roads. Read more

Officials have promised a “safe and secure” Games, but facing continued resistance from a substantial portion of the public, their concerns stoked the two Ugandan delegates who tested positive after arriving in Japan. Read more

Public broadcaster NHK said the government was developing measures for all foreign athletes in regional training camps ahead of the Olympics to stop training and quarantine their rooms if any of their groups was positive.

This measure will continue until everyone has tested negative for the virus, NHK added, without identifying its sources.

Tokyo 2020 organizers said in an email that those who tested positive at the airport would be quarantined and that reception area authorities would decide how to classify “close contacts”.

Organizers also told Reuters that breastfeeding athletes would be allowed to bring their children to the Tokyo Olympics if necessary. Read more

They have banned family members of athletes from attending the Games due to COVID-19 safety protocols, prompting some athletes to complain about being forced to choose between the Games and their young children.

“… after careful consideration of the unique situation faced by athletes with breastfed infants, we are pleased to confirm that, if necessary, breastfed infants will be able to accompany athletes to Japan,” said the organizers.

Even in the “most optimistic scenario”, daily new cases in Tokyo could reach 1,000 in July and 2,000 in August, fueled by greater travel activity during the Games, university researchers and the Institute’s project. National Infectious Diseases.

If infections accelerate during or after the Games, the use of hospital beds in Tokyo could reach its limit in August, they added.

Reporting by Elaine Lies, Tim Kelly, Yoshifumi Takemoto and Rocky Swift, Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Clarence Fernandez, William Maclean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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