The latest worrying sign of the Summer Games came on Monday when the State Department advised US citizens against traveling to Japan due to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.
It’s been over a year since Americans paid for tourist calls around the country. Japan has been closed to US pleasure travelers throughout the pandemic, with only “very limited” circumstances that US citizens could enter.
The Games are still scheduled for July 23 through August 8 in Japan.
Covid-19 epidemic in Japan
Its vaccine rollout has been slow compared to other locations in Asia due to a shortage of healthcare professionals and a lack of syringes. Only about 2% of Japanese citizens have received at least one injection of the vaccine.
The government plans to open large-scale vaccination centers in Osaka and Tokyo to speed up the process. On May 21, the Ministry of Health officially approved two Covid-19 vaccines (Moderna and AstraZeneca).
The rollout also stands in stark contrast to the vaccination campaign in the United States, with at least 25 states now having at least 50% of its adult population fully vaccinated.
Pressure to postpone
Koji Sasahara / AP
There was increasing pressure to postpone the Games again.
Fending off criticism last week, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Japanese and Tokyo 2020 officials would make the right decision to deal with the situation and that the risks had been well managed so far.
The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, an organization of about 6,000 doctors in Tokyo, recently wrote a letter calling for an annulment, while a petition that garnered 350,000 signatures in nine days for an annulment was submitted to organizers. .
The CEO of Japan’s leading e-commerce company Rakuten has said that holding the Games amid the pandemic amounts to a “suicide mission” – one of the strongest objections to date voiced by a business leader.
Also at level 4
Japan isn’t the only country to get a Level 4 opinion from the State Department.
The tropical island nation of Sri Lanka, in Covid-ravaged southeast India, was also raised to ‘level 4, do not travel’ on Monday. Other popular destinations that have been open to American tourists during much of the pandemic also have a Level 4 warning, including Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.
The State Department recently aligned its travel advisories more closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisories – moving a significant number of countries to the “do not travel” tier.
CNN’s Carly Walsh, Alex Thomas and George Ramsay contributed to this report.