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Japan’s state of emergency extended to four more regions after worsening Covid numbers

Japan’s state of emergency extended to four more regions after worsening Covid numbers
After 3,300 new cases on Friday, Japan has expanded its state of emergency to three more prefectures close to Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka. Organizers have announced that 27 of the cases were linked to the Olympics.

The new measures will be in place from August 2 to August 31. Tokyo itself – where emergency restrictions have already been implemented – will observe the same timeframe, with regulations expected to last until the end of next month.

The decision to expand the areas under a state of emergency comes in response to Japan having this week recorded the highest number of positive cases since the start of the pandemic. Friday’s tally of 3,300 came after a record 3,865 cases on Thursday.

Also on rt.com Japanese PM Suga says record number of Covid cases ‘not a problem’ for the Olympics despite growing pressure

The Japanese capital is under its fourth state of emergency since the start of the health crisis, and 64% of its hospital beds designated for serious Covid cases have reportedly already been filled.

On Thursday, Economic Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said: “The number of newly infected people is increasing and there is a strong sense of caution.”

“The situation is extremely severe,” he told parliament.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga downplayed the link between the Olympic Games and the worsening Covid situation in his nation. He said the spike in numbers was ‘not a problem’ for the games, but insisted that Tokyo locals work from home to prevent themselves contracting or spreading the virus.

However, on Friday, the games organizers reported 27 new positive cases connected to the competition, among them three athletes. These cases brought the total number with Olympics links since July 1 to 220, according to Reuters.

The worsening Covid situation will likely exacerbate the PM’s already high disapproval rating among voters. The results of a survey published on Monday showed that support for the Japanese cabinet had fallen by 9% since June to 34%. They revealed a ‘lack of leadership’ as the most popular justification for dissent, centered on Suga’s handling of the pandemic and his decision to proceed with hosting the Olympics, which led more than 450,000 concerned Japanese citizens to sign an online petition requesting that the games be canceled due to the health risk posed.

Also on rt.com Japanese PM Suga’s approval rating hits new low following dissent over Olympics

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