Koji Sasahara / AP
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of State have issued new travel warnings that cover the threat of COVID-19 in more than 90 countries and territories, including Japan, which is facing a new wave of infections ahead of next month’s Olympics.
The CDC lowered Japan from its highest risk category – Level 4 – to Level 3 on Monday, Reuters first reported. In addition, 61 more countries were moved to the same tier and another 50 were lowered to tier 2 or tier 1. In addition, the CDC has revised its rating for the United States from Level 4 to Level 3.
Just last month the The State Department warned Americans not to travel to the Olympic host country this summer and issued a Level 4: Travel Warning Thu for Japan. This sparked international controversy when Japanese officials insisted the nation would be prepared for the Games from July 23, after being postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
But on Tuesday the State Department followed the CDC’s lead and gave the country a new level 3 rating. The change is not an enthusiastic endorsement as the guidelines urge Americans to “reconsider traveling to Japan,” but it does bring the department closer to the White House’s position on the matter. The Biden administration did advocates the Tokyo Olympics despite dire warnings from health experts in Japan.
Eugene Hoshiko / AP
Health conditions across Japan remain grim as officials fail to contain the spread of the virus
As Anthony Kuhn. by NPR reported, “The spread in Japan of variant Virus strains have slowed the decline in the number of cases. Some hospitals remain overstretched of COVID-19 patients, and some people have died at home without being able to access medical supplies.”
The country has also been slow in adopting vaccines – less than 4% of the population were fully vaccinated, according to to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The cumulative effect of circumstances has resulted in votes against the Olympic Games in Japan.
But regardless of the dire reality, Japanese officials firmly believe the Games will be safe. And the International Olympic Committee is planning tough virus prevention measures, including separating athletes from the general population. The IOC is too Ban fans from overseas of the games.
Doctors warn of an Olympic strain of cornavirus
But even with these measures, the head of a Japanese medical union warned at the end of last month of the dangers of a possible one Olympic Coronavirus Strain with the arrival of tens of thousands of visitors from 200 nations around the world.
“All the different mutant strains of the virus that exist in different places are concentrated and collected here in Tokyo,” Naoto Ueyama said at a press conference on May 27, Reuters reported. “We cannot deny the possibility that a new strain of the virus may even emerge.”
Ueyama added, “If such a situation should arise, it could even mean that an Olympic tribe of the virus in Tokyo is named that way, which would be a great tragedy and the target of criticism even for 100 years. “