Coronavirus Digest

COVID-19: Japan declares state of emergency for Tokyo

Published : July 08, 2021 18:17 IST

The Tokyo Games are being held amid opposition from medical experts and widespread public concern. Photo: Julian Ryall

Olympics organizers may ban spectators now Prime Minister Suga has imposed a state of emergency.

Japan will impose a state of emergency for Tokyo that will last through the duration of the Olympics, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga formally declared on July 8. The state of emergency will begin on Monday and last until August 22.

The Tokyo Games, scheduled from July 23 to August 8, are being held after a delay despite opposition from medical experts and the majority of the public.

The move comes amid fears of an ongoing surge in infections. It may put an end to the chance of a local audience at the games.

Japan has already banned overseas spectators and set a cap on domestic viewers at 50% of capacity, up to 10,000 people.

Here's a rundown of the latest coronavirus news from around the world:

Asia-Pacific

Australia's state of New South Wales saw its biggest increase in daily cases of COVID-19 this year. The spike in cases comes despite two weeks of hard lockdown in the state capital, Sydney, where officials were considering a further extension in restrictions. NSW reported 38 new cases on Thursday, compared to 27 a day earlier.

South Korea reported its highest-ever one-day spike in new COVID-19 cases, with officials looking at a possible lockdown in the capital, Seoul. The 1,275 new cases on Thursday exceed the previous one-day record increase of 1,240 seen on Christmas Day. Around 80% of the cases were recorded in the greater Seoul area which has emerged as the epicenter of the latest outbreak in the country.

India reported 45,892 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to the country's health ministry. It also reported 817 additional deaths, taking the total fatalities to 405,028. India's official death toll is widely believed to an undercount, with actual figures suspected to be several times higher.

Europe

UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak sympathized with the people in self-isolation after they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. He added that the health secretary was looking at the most appropriate balance for self-isolation. "I appreciate people's frustration with this. It's part of what I and the prime minister call a balanced approach. We want to make sure we see an appropriate degree of caution," he told British network Sky News.

France's European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune advised French people to avoid Spain and Portugal for their summer holidays in light of the fast-spreading delta variant. The highly contagious variant now represents around 40% of new infections in France, a government spokesman said.

Germany confirmed 970 new cases of the coronavirus, with 31 more deaths, taking the country's total infection to 3,733,519, while overall fatalities stood at 91,141, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

The European Commission approved a €1.2 billion COVID recovery plan for Cyprus to spend for restarting its pandemic-hit economy. The aid, which Cyprus won't have to pay back, is part of the EU's unprecedented economic stimulus totalling 800 billion euros to be distributed among the 27 member states.

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