Tokyo governor requests emergency measures to control ‘very worrisome’ spike in Covid infections

Tokyo governor requests emergency measures to control ‘very worrisome’ spike in Covid infections

Tokyo’s governor has asked Japan’s central government to implement emergency Covid restrictions in the region amid an outbreak of coronavirus infections linked to mutated strains of the virus.

The request was issued after Governor Yuriko Koike met with health officials who warned that the spike in Covid cases within the region could spread faster and be deadlier than previous waves due to the influx of variants of the virus.

Speaking after the meeting, the Tokyo politician urged residents to “be more vigilant of the increase in the number of people infected with the mutant strains,” as officials rush to contain its spread before the health service is overwhelmed, warning that “this is a very worrisome situation.”

Tokyo’s plan to introduce emergency Covid restrictions follows three other areas, Hyogo, Miyagi and Osaka, which brought in lockdown measures on Monday amid similar concerns about coronavirus outbreaks in their regions.

If granted by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government, the measures will give the regional government the power to force businesses to reduce their opening hours, require citizens to work from home and limit activities, such as recreational sport, in the region.

The planned measures come amid controversy over concerns that the Japanese government was considering prioritizing Covid vaccines for athletes, ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games in a few months.

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The central government was forced to deny the reports, published by Japan’s Kyodo news agency, that claimed officials were looking at how to ensure all of the countries’ Olympic and Paralympic athletes were fully vaccinated by the end of June.

With Japan’s vaccine rollout already facing criticism for being slower than other nations, with only a million people having received one dose since February, residents were outraged at the possibility of professional athletes jumping the queue. 

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