Japan announces fourth state of emergency
Tokyo broke daily records in COVID-19 infections for three days in a row. Thursday was the highest, with 3,865 new cases. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga expanded a pre-existing state of emergency to three more prefectures and extended the length until Aug. 31. The country isn’t in full lockdown, but the order affects nearly 40 percent of Japan’s population. The government requests bars and restaurants to close early, recommends citizens stay inside, and restricts alcohol sales.
Are the Olympics to blame? COVID-19 infections are increasing from the delta variant, but Suga said they are not connected to the Olympic Games held in Tokyo. He attributed the rise to slow vaccine rollout. Just over a quarter of the eligible population in Japan is fully vaccinated, compared to more than 80 percent of the Olympic Village, where athletes undergo daily testing. Olympic organizers on Friday reported 27 new infections related to the event, bringing the total to 220 positive cases among volunteers and athletes since the start of July.
Dig deeper: Read Ray Hacke’s report on what COVID-conscious Olympic Games look like.
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