Japan to extend COVID-19 emergency with safe Olympics at stake

Posted at 5:27 AM, May 28, 2021

Japan is set to extend a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas where infections not yet slowing to levels where it can safely host the Olympics, which are slated to begin in July.

A government minister says the extension is needed because people are increasingly roaming around in public, when they should be doing the opposite. They say lifting the emergency might cause infections to spike.

Hospitals in some areas are still overflowing with COVID-19 patients and serious cases hit new highs recently.

The government is due to announce later Friday that the emergency will be extended to June 20.

While the Japanese government and the IOC appear ready to forge ahead with the games, many in Japan are calling for the event to be canceled. While the country has opened two mass vaccination sites in recent days, only a tiny portion of the country's population has been vaccinated.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory against traveling to Japan — just two months before the games are set to begin. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing this week that the Biden administration still expects U.S. athletes to travel to Japan for the games.