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Tokyo to instate state of ‘quasi-emergency’ to combat COVID-19


Tokyo to instate state of ‘quasi-emergency’ to combat COVID-19

Photo: KYODO

Tokyo will instate a state of ‘quasi-emergency’ today to combat the city’s recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

With just 100 days before the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the city had recorded over 500 COVID-19 infections a day for three consecutive days last week, marking the city’s second-largest spike to date. More troubling, 10 out of every 14 COVID-19 cases at Tokyo Medical Hospital last month were of the more contagious UK B.1.1.7 variant of the virus with the “Eek” E484K mutation (vaccine and antibody avoidant).

The new restrictions—which will remain in effect until May 11—include an 8PM curfew for businesses operating in densely packed areas, a cap of 5,000 individuals for large events and new fines for rulebreakers.

Expect today’s restrictions to assist Tokyo in combatting a growing new wave of COVID-19 infections throughout the city in the short-term. Nevertheless, Japan, largely, will likely continue to struggle with the virus in the medium-term. Vaccinations have only reached 1% of the Japanese population thus far and, although officials claim mass inoculations will hasten in May when new vaccines arrive from the EU, the new Eek mutation will pose new challenges for Japan’s road to herd immunity.

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