The Japanese government Tuesday was quick to deny that a U.S. warning for Americans to avoid travelling to Japan would have an impact on Olympians wanting to compete in the postponed Tokyo Games.
U.S. officials cited a surge in coronavirus cases in Japan caused by virus variants that may even be risks to vaccinated people. They didn’t ban Americans from visiting Japan, but the warnings could affect insurance rates and whether Olympic athletes and other participants decide to join the Games that are set to begin on July 23.
Most metro areas in Japan are under a state of emergency and expected to remain so through mid-June because of rising serious COVID-19 cases that are putting pressure on the country’s medical-care systems. That raises concern about how the country could cope with the arrival of tens of thousands of Olympic participants if its hospitals remain stressed and little of its population is vaccinated.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular news conference Tuesday that the U.S. warning does not prohibit essential travel and Japan believes the U.S. support for Tokyo’s effort to hold the Olympics is unchanged.
WATCH | Infectious diseases specialist on whether Olympics should happen:
“We believe there is no change to the U.S. position supporting the Japanese government’s determination to achieve the Games,” Kato said, noting that Washington has told Tokyo the travel warning is not related to participation of the U.S. Olympic team.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said it still anticipates American athletes will be able to safely compete at the Tokyo Games.
Fans coming from abroad were banned from the Tokyo Olympics months ago, but athletes, families, sporting officials from around the world and other stakeholders still amount to a mass influx of international travellers.
The Japanese public in opinion surveys have expressed opposition to holding the Games out of safety concerns while most people will not be vaccinated.
The U.S. warning from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said: “Because of the current situation in Japan even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan.”
The State Department’s warning was more blunt. “Do not travel to Japan due to COVID-19,” it said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently advising against all non-essential travel outside the country.
-From The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 12:15 p.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of 11:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 1,364,396 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 49,821 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,312. More than 21.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.
In Quebec, health officials on Tuesday reported 346 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths. The update Tuesday comes before a briefing from Premier François Legault, which is expected at 1 p.m. ET.
Ontario reported figures for two days, saying there were 1,039 cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday and 33 deaths. For Monday, officials said, there were 1,446 cases reported and eight additional deaths.
As of Tuesday, hospitalizations stood at 1,025, with 692 people in ICU due to COVID-related illness.
The update comes as Ontario residents who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in mid-March will be able to book their second shot this week as the province seeks to use up its stockpile before it expires. The province’s top doctor said last week that those who got their first jab of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 during a pilot project at some pharmacies and doctors’ offices will be prioritized for the second dose.
Across the North, Nunavut on Tuesday reported one new case of COVID-19 and five additional recoveries, bringing the number of active cases in the territory to 13. Health officials in Yukon and the Northwest Territories had not yet provided an update for the day.
In Atlantic Canada on Monday, Nova Scotia reported 49 new cases of COVID-19, with the vast majority of the cases in the central zone that includes Halifax. In New Brunswick, health officials reported 15 new cases of COVID-19, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported five new cases. There were no new cases reported in Prince Edward Island.
In hard-hit Manitoba, the province’s online pandemic dashboard showed 353 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths on Monday. The federal government is sending health workers and other supports to Manitoba as it grapples with high COVID-19 rates and overburdened intensive care units.
Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 103 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and no additional deaths.
In Alberta, kindergarten to Grade 12 students in most of the province will head back to their classrooms on Tuesday after moving to remote learning earlier this month. The planned return comes a day after the province reported 452 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths.
In British Columbia, provincial health officials on Monday reported 974 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths over three days. Officials in the province are expected to unveil details of a reopening plan later Tuesday.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 11:15 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 167.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tool to track cases maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.4 million.
In the Middle East, Bahrain’s health ministry on Monday reported 28 deaths, the highest daily toll in the small island nation, which has seen a surge in coronavirus cases to record levels.
In the Asia-Pacific region, India’s official tally of daily infections of the novel coronavirus fell to the lowest in nearly six weeks in the last 24 hours, offering hope a devastating second wave is ebbing, but government leaders said shortages of vaccines were a concern.
Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne reinstated COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday as authorities scrambled to find the missing link in a fresh outbreak, prompting New Zealand to pause a “travel bubble” with the state of Victoria.
In the Americas, Haiti’s government has imposed a nightly curfew and other restrictions under an eight-day “health emergency” meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. All outdoor activity will be banned from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. under the decree issued Monday by President Jovenel Moise.
The decree also makes the use of face masks mandatory for anyone out in public, while temperature checks and handwashing stations are required for all public or private buildings such as banks, schools, hospitals and markets.
In Africa, South Africa reported 2,383 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 72 additional deaths, according to an update posted by the health minister. The number of vaccines administered stood at more than 651,000.
In Europe, the British government has been accused of introducing local lockdowns by stealth after it introduced tighter restrictions for eight local areas in England that it says are hot spots for the coronavirus variant first identified in India. On Tuesday, lawmakers and local public health officials said they hadn’t been made aware of changes that the Conservative government published online last Friday.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 12:15 p.m. ET
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