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Japan Prolongs COVID Lockdown Until End of May

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Japan Prolongs COVID Lockdown Until End of May

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The Japanese government, two weeks ago, initiated an extended state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This fresh measure impacted several significant prefectures such as Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto, enforcing various safety precautions. The aim was for the state to be swift and potent to enhance safety measures before the approaching Olympics. Regrettably, it fell short of expectations, prompting the government to extend the state until the close of May.

Today, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga officially declared that the state of emergency in all affected prefectures will persist until May 31. While the original state was set to end next Tuesday, the surge in new coronavirus cases, coupled with the impending Olympics in July, urged Suga to err on the side of caution.

Meanwhile, Japan’s administration will intensify its focus on COVID-19 immunizations, aiming to administer no less than 1 million shots daily.

“Vaccines are fundamental in combating the ongoing infections,” Suga informed reporters. He stressed that accelerating immunizations would be critical in combating the emerging coronavirus variants surging in the nation.

“Aiming for 1 million doses per day, the government is fully committed to aiding local governments in completing the two-dose vaccinations for all elderly individuals desiring them by the end of July.”

While Suga hasn’t specified a target date for this vaccination threshold, Japan anticipates a surplus of doses in the near future. Agreements have already been finalized with Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax for the acquisition of 50 million shots by September and 200 million by 2022. Concerning the Olympics, Suga remains optimistic that the event can proceed, even offering vaccine donations to Olympic participants.

“Ensuring a safe and protected event while safeguarding the lives and health of our populace through stringent measures is achievable,” he affirmed.

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