With the Summer Olympics in Tokyo set to begin later this month, the Japanese government has acquiesced to growing public pressure to declare another state of emergency in Tokyo as the number of new COVID cases has continued to climb over the past month, even as vaccinations have accelerated.
The order is Tokyo’s fourth emergency decree since April 2020, and comes after the Tokyo confirmed 920 new cases on Wednesday, the capital’s highest daily tally since May 13.
Tokyo had lifted the previous state of emergency on June 20, though the metropolis has since been under a “quasi” emergency order that’s set to end on Sunday.
The new state of emergency is set to remain in effect from July 12 until Aug. 20, covering the entirety of the summer Olympics.
On Wednesday, Tokyo’s municipal government asked the central government to strengthen its infection control measures – which have notoriously included a temporary ban on alcohol sales at restaurants to anybody who isn’t drinking alone – if the quasi emergency is extended.
While Japan has been considering allowing up to 10K domestic spectators at each Olympic event, the new state of emergency means spectators will likely be barred from the competition.
PM Yoshihide Suga has previously said that a new emergency order would likely include a ban on spectators.
The Olympics and Paralympics organizing committees along with the IOC will soon hold talks to discuss their response to the state of emergency.