Japan says it will raise the coronavirus alert level in Tokyo to allow tougher measures to curb the rapid spread of a more contagious variant ahead of the Summer Olympics
Japan’s national vaccination drive has lagged and most people in the capital still have not been inoculated as infections have surged.
The raised status announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will allow Tokyo’s governor to mandate shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants, along with punishments for violators and compensation for those who comply. The measures are to begin Monday and continue through May 11.
Many of Tokyo’s cases have been linked to nightlife and dining, though they have recently spread to offices, elderly care facilities and schools, experts say.
The steps come less than three weeks after a non-binding state of emergency was lifted for Tokyo and underscore the difficulty of balancing anti-virus measures and the economy.