onsdag 14. april 2021

With 100 days until the Tokyo Olympics, Japan has vaccinated less than 1% of its population. That's a problem

When 2020 Tokyo Olympics volunteers have in recent weeks asked officials how they'll be protected from Covid-19, given the foreign athletes pouring into Japan for the event and the country's low vaccination rate, the answer has been simple. They'll be given a small bottle of hand sanitizer and two masks each. "They don't talk about vaccines, they don't even talk about us being tested," said German volunteer Barbara Holthus, who is director of Sophia University's German Institute for Japanese Studies, in Tokyo.

With 100 days to go until the Games, already postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, questions remain over how Tokyo can hold a massive sporting event and keep volunteers, athletes, officials -- and the Japanese public -- safe from Covid-19.

That concern has been amplified by Japan's battle with a looming fourth wave. The country passed 500,000 total coronavirus cases on Saturday, and some prefectures are again tightening their Covid-19 restrictions as daily infections grow. Hideaki Oka, a professor at Saitama Medical University, said Japan may not be able to contain the latest wave before the Games begin on July 23.