Japan is working closely with the International Olympic Committee to prepare for the Games, and despite fears of a surge in Covid-19 cases, there are no plans to postpone it, the Japanese Vaccine Minister said. ..
“Unless they decide something else, we just need a way to prepare for the tournament and control the situation. I think it changes almost every day, so they need to be prepared for it. But they think of a postponement. I don’t think Taro Kono told CNBC Martin Soong on Wednesday.
The Olympic torch was removed from public roads in Osaka on Wednesday as the prefecture declared a state of emergency after the coronavirus case reached record heights.
“Yes, I’m particularly worried about the situation in Osaka,” said Kono, who is also the Minister of Regulatory Reform. He added that a new viral variant similar to the one first discovered in the UK is “rapidly spreading” in Osaka.
“I’m worried that Tokyo will follow Osaka in a few weeks because a similar mutation was found in Tokyo, so we need to be careful about the situation,” he said.
A man wearing a face mask stands behind the Olympic symbol of the five interwoven rings depicted near the National Stadium in Tokyo.
James Matsumoto, SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images
Although the population of Osaka is much smaller than that of Tokyo, the city reported 878 new cases on April 7, compared to 555 in Tokyo on the same day.
The Summer Olympics are scheduled to officially open in Tokyo on July 23, just over 100 days. Last year was delayed due to a coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, the tournament will be significantly reduced compared to the previous year as international spectators are banned from entering the country due to concerns about Covid-19.
“Unfortunately, there may not be many spectators watching the game at the stadium, but most people will watch it on TV anyway,” Kono said.
Delayed introduction of vaccine in Japan
Japan plans to vaccinate the country’s elderly from Monday, moving to the next stage of vaccine deployment, which has been hampered by delayed vaccine delivery.
According to Kono, less than 1% of the population has been vaccinated so far, but we hope that vaccination will begin in earnest in mid-May when vaccines from the European Union arrive.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t develop the vaccine domestically. We have to rely on the import of vaccines from the EU,” Kono said. “We are currently approving the Pfizer vaccine and will start it for the elderly next Monday.”
The vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is “very important” because it is manufactured in Japan, and negotiations could be disrupted, he said.
His interview took place hours before EU and UK drug regulators announced on Wednesday that there could be a link between the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and a rare blood clotting problem. However, both regulators pointed out that the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks.
“The biggest headache for me is going through the EU’s transparency mechanism,” Kono said, referring to measures that would allow European Union member states to impose restrictions on vaccine exports. ..
“If we had (a) a domestic vaccine or a domestic vaccine … more than half of my headaches would have gone,” he said.
When asked if Japan’s response to the coronavirus outbreak could affect its potential to become the next prime minister, Kono was negative.
“My job is to get the vaccine from Europe to Japan, and () to vaccinate as many people as possible,” he said. “You don’t have to think about Premiership. You have to do your job to save people’s lives.”
Prior to the Olympics, Japanese ministers say the rise in Tokyo Covid could be exacerbated
Source link Prior to the Olympics, Japanese ministers say the rise in Tokyo Covid could be exacerbated