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Tokyo Olympics Slated to Take Place in July Despite Covid-19

February 3, 2021, 10.51 PM – The once-delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics is slated to open on schedule on July 23 this year despite the world is still struggling to control the Covid-19 pandemic.

Japanese health experts are also confident that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

However, Japan's coronavirus vaccination drive has yet to begin.

The logistical challenges are piling up. There is little discussion of the added costs for hosting the Tokyo Olympic Games or who will foot the growing bill. Public opposition is hardening.

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Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Tuesday evening that the state of emergency that was scheduled to expire on February 7 will be extended for one more month in 11 prefectures.

Nevertheless, Japan has so far managed to avoid strict lockdowns similar to those introduced in Europe and other parts of the world.

Japanese have been "urged" to avoid crowds, eating out in groups, and unnecessary travel, while bars and restaurants have been asked to close by 8 pm.

And Japan has been relatively less affected by coronavirus compared to other countries.

The latest figures from health authorities report 394,799 total cases of coronavirus, the vast majority in the big cities of Tokyo, Osaka, and surrounding commuter prefectures. There were 119 deaths from the disease on Tuesday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 5,965.

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All of this has been sufficient to install the new belief that the worst may be over and that the Olympics can be salvaged.

"The figures that we have indicate that new infections peaked in mid-January and are now very gradually declining," said Kazuhiro Tateda, president of the Japan Association of Infectious Diseases, and a member of the expert committee set up by the government to combat the spread of the virus.

"We were seeing 2,000 new cases a day in Tokyo at the beginning of January, but now that number is down to around 500 a day, and I expect that decline to continue as a result of the state of emergency being extended and people being encouraged to stay at home," he told DW.

"We are also about to start vaccinations, which will also have a positive impact, and temperatures are also rising with the first signs of spring, which we believe will also have a good effect on infection numbers," he added.


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