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Japan’s Osaka cancels the Olympic torch run, declaring a medical emergency COVID-19 According to Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask after an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), walking on an almost empty street in Osaka’s Dotonbori entertainment district

By Rocky Swift

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s western Osaka region canceled Olympic torch events scheduled across the province on Wednesday, as record coronavirus infections prompted the country’s government to declare a state of emergency. medical terms.

Health authorities fear a variant of the virus is causing a fourth infection just 107 days before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, with vaccinations still in their early stages.

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said street operations would be canceled, adding that the medical system faces enormous stress due to a more infectious variant causing cases. disease skyrocketed among young people.

“It is almost certain that this mutant is very contagious at a high rate of transmission,” he said in a televised speech.

“I want to ask all the residents of Osaka Prefecture to unnecessarily limit out. The medical system is in a very tight state.”

The province will report more than 800 new infections on Wednesday, for the second day in a row with record numbers, local media said. Severe illness cases have filled about 70% of hospital beds in the region.

Osaka and neighboring provinces Hyogo and Miyagi began targeted containment measures on Monday, aimed at curbing a more virulent strain of the virus.

In recent days, infection rates in Osaka have outstripped Tokyo, Japan’s capital and a much larger city. Even so, Tokyo cases are also trending up, with 555 new infections on Wednesday standing at their highest level since early February.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said emergency measures in the Osaka region could be extended to Tokyo and elsewhere if needed.

Japan’s vaccination rate is far below that of most major economies, with about 1 million people getting at least one dose since February.

This represents less than 1% of the population, compared with almost 2% in neighboring South Korea, which started the campaign after Japan.

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