Coronavirus live news: curfew and music ban on two Greek islands; Japan experts urge nationwide state of emergency

Tokyo reported another large jump in virus cases on Thursday, again shattering records, as the government expanded restrictions to eight more regions just days before the Olympics ends.

Tokyo is already under a virus state of emergency but is experiencing an exponential growth in cases, driven by the more contagious Delta variant, AFP reports.

On Thursday, the city reported 5,042 cases, up from 3,865 a week earlier, and 1,979 the week before that. Daily case numbers have also broken records nationwide, topping 14,000 for the first time on Wednesday.

The Japanese prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, said at a virus taskforce meeting on Thursday:

Infections are spreading with a speed we have never experienced before. With the rapid increase of cases, the number of patients in serious condition, which had been contained, is growing.

Japan’s virus outbreak has been comparatively small overall, with around 15,000 deaths and no harsh lockdown measures, but only around a third of the population is fully vaccinated.

Six parts of the country are under a virus emergency, which bans restaurants and bars from selling alcohol and asks them to close by 8pm. Other parts of Japan are under so-called quasi-emergency measures, with the government expanding those restrictions to another eight areas on Thursday.

The measures also limit opening hours and alcohol sales, but experts have questioned whether any of the restrictions are sufficient.

Koji Wada, a professor at Japan’s international university of health and welfare, said:

At this point in time we really need to introduce some other kind of measures in order to tackle this situation.

The spike comes with the Olympic Games in full swing in Tokyo, taking place largely without spectators. Organisers have reported 353 cases among Games staff, officials, teams and media since 1 July. But they insist there is no evidence of infection spreading from the Games into Japan.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.