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Tokyo Governor Says City Ready For ‘Safe’ Olympics Amid COVID-19 Surge

Tokyo’s governor assured reporters this week that the city’s medical system is ready to host the “safe and secure” Olympic Games as Japan is set to host thousands of athletes from around the world starting next week.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told Reuters on Tuesday that the city is planning a last-minute vaccination blitz to better protect residents, with a focus on senior citizens, adding that hospitals were ready to respond to any growing outbreaks. Her comments come in the background continued rise in the number of new cases of coronavirus and as Tokyo health officials warn about high risk a new wave of infections.

“A lot of people will be vaccinated in the next 10 days and during the Olympics. The biggest change as a result of this will be a significant reduction in the ratio of deaths to severe cases among the elderly, ”Koike told the Telegraph Service. “Because of this, and also because the medical system is ready, I think we can move the safe Olympics forward.”

Koike’s comments came about a week after the Olympics organizers said that prohibit viewers from attending most events at the Games amid a new surge in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo. The move changed dramatically after officials initially said local viewers could attend the events (foreign visitors were closed months ago). Also this month Olympic torch relay which traditionally precedes games has been canceled.

Citing an increase in the number of cases, Japan also placed Tokyo in a state of emergency This will run until August 22 for the duration of the Olympics.

“It is very sad that the Games are being held without spectators,” Koike told Reuters of the changes. “It is clear that we can reduce the risks, but spectators are also very important to athletes and give them a lot of support. It is a pity that we have to hold the Olympics without them. “

Japan has struggled with vaccine deployment, addressing supply chain problems plaguing many countries. Only 19% of the population fully vaccinated against coronavirus, and only 31% received at least one injection.

Polls published in May found over 80% of people Japan wanted to cancel the Games amid concerns about COVID-19, concerns that have only intensified amid the spread of the highly hereditary delta variant of the virus.

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