The State Department warning that followed the CDC warning was more blunt. “Do not travel to Japan because of Covid-19,” said the announcement, which raised the department’s travel warning from level 3 – reconsider travel – to level 4 – do not travel. The previous warning was issued on April 21st.
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee continues to believe that American athletes can safely compete in the Tokyo Games.
“We are confident that the remedial actions currently being taken for athletes and staff from both USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee in conjunction with pre-trip, on arrival in Japan and during season testing will allow Team USA athletes to safely participate in this summer, ”the committee said in a statement on Monday.
Earlier Monday, Japan had mobilized military doctors and nurses to shoot older adults in two major cities as the government desperately tried to speed up vaccinations and contain coronavirus infections before the Olympics take place. This move came amid growing calls for the Games to be canceled.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is determined to hold the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 after a year-long delay and has made an ambitious commitment to complete the vaccination of the country’s 36 million elderly people by the end of July.
Japan has recorded just over 12,000 Covid deaths – good by global standards but poor in Asia – but Tokyo and Osaka and several other areas are in a state of emergency through May 31, which is expected to be extended.
There is a fear of new varieties spreading as only a tiny percentage of Japanese – an estimated 2 to 4% – are vaccinated.