Japan's Osaka cancels Olympic torch run, declares Covid-19 medical emergency


TOKYO (Reuters): Japan's western region of Osaka on Wednesday (April 7) cancelled Olympic torch events scheduled across the prefecture, as record coronavirus infections prompted its government to declare a medical emergency.

Health authorities fear a virus variant is unleashing a fourth wave of infections just 107 days before the Tokyo Olympics begin, with a vaccination drive still at an early stage.

Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said the street runs would be cancelled, adding that the medical system faced enormous strain as a more infectious variant sent cases skyrocketing among young people.

"It is almost certain that this mutant strain is highly contagious with a high transmission speed," he said in televised remarks.

"I would like to ask all residents of Osaka prefecture to refrain from going out unnecessarily. The medical system is in a very tight situation."

The prefecture reported 878 new infections on Wednesday, a second-straight day of record numbers. Severe cases have filled about 70% of hospital beds in the region.

Osaka and the neighbouring prefectures of Hyogo and Miyagi started on Monday a month of targeted lockdown measures, to rein in a more virulent strain of the virus.

In recent days, Osaka's infections have outstripped those in Tokyo, the Japanese capital and a much larger city. Even so, Tokyo's cases are on an uptrend as well, with Wednesday's 555 new infections standing at the highest since early February.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she was preparing to request similar emergency steps in the capital region.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had said on Sunday that the measures, which allow regional governments to order restaurants to close early and levy fines for noncompliance, would be expanded as necessary.

Japan's vaccination drive is far behind that of most major economies, with about 1 million people being given at least one dose since February.

That figure represents less than 1% of the population, versus almost 2% in neighbouring South Korea, which started its campaign after Japan.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Aseanplus News

South Korea and Israel to sign free trade pact
Opt-in vaccination drive for AstraZeneca in Brunei receives encouraging response
China to extend financial relief for small and micro companies
Philippine factory output fell by more than 73 per cent in March
Indonesia's electricity body PLN pledges carbon neutrality by 2050
EU and India agree trade reboot to confront China threats
Cambodia logs 538 new Covid-19 cases, 456 recoveries
Malaysians online condemn those flouting Covid-19 SOPs on the road
Does US Secretary of State Blinken know what the rule of law is?: Global Times editorial
Singapore not barring entry to all work pass holders only from high-risk areas: MOM

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers