The United States has urged its citizens to avoid all travel to Japan, where concern over new variants of the coronavirus is mounting. But officials insist the move will not complicate preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The state department issued its highest level 4 travel warning for Japan on Monday, where a month-long state of emergency helped reduce cases in Tokyo but did not have a significant impact on the fourth wave of Covid infections. 19 of the country.
“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [CDC] said in a new guide issued less than two months before the opening of the Olympics.
“Due to the current situation in Japan, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan,” he added.
The state department’s warning was more forceful. “Do not travel to Japan due to Covid-19,” it read.
The decision will have little impact on leisure travel: Japan has closed its borders to tourists, with only Japanese citizens and foreign residents authorized to enter the country.
In Tokyo, officials said the warning would not affect preparations for the Games, which Olympic and Japanese organizers insist will take place as planned on July 23.
Joe Biden told Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that the United States backed plans for a “safe and secure” Games when they met in Washington last month, and Japan’s top spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters on Tuesday he didn’t think the warning did. affect the Olympics.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee [USOPC], which oversees the US team, said it was aware of the advisory.
“We are confident that current mitigation practices for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo organizing committee, along with pre-trip testing, upon arrival in Japan and during the Games, will allow for safe participation. of Team USA athletes this summer, ”the committees said in a statement.
More than 11,000 athletes competing in Tokyo will not have to complete the 14-day quarantine, but must test negative before leaving their home countries and upon arrival in Japan, and undergo daily tests within a village “bubble” Olympian during her participation in the Games.
Japanese organizers have already decided to ban overseas spectators and are expected to decide whether to allow Japanese citizens to attend the Olympic venues next month.
Despite the recent drop in cases in Tokyo and Osaka, where hospital beds for Covid patients have reached their maximum capacity, Japan recently qualified for level 4, defined by the CDC as a “very high level” of cases of Covid-19.
Level 4 advisories apply to countries where the incidence rate of coronavirus, or new cases accumulated in the last 28 days per 100,000 people, exceeds 100, according to the Kyodo news agency.
Japan met the criteria on Friday and its current incidence rate is 120 cases per 100,000, an official with the US health protection agency said.
Very few people in Japan have been vaccinated against the virus, adding to concerns about possible new outbreaks caused by more contagious variants.
Just over 4% of the country’s 126 people have taken at least one hit, but Suga has promised to have 36 million people over 64 fully protected by the end of July.
Vaccines for the general population are not expected to be in full swing until after the Olympics end on August 8.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism