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U.S. issues travel advisory for Japan, 2 months ahead of Olympics

A boat sails past the 2020 Olympic Rings on March 25, 2020, in Tokyo, Japan. (Carl Court/Getty Images/TNS)

Just two months ahead of the Olympic Games, set to kick off in Japan on July 23, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory warning Americans away from the country as coronavirus cases escalate.

The State Department issued its highest possible caution, “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The same level of warning was issued for Sri Lanka.

“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan,” the CDC’s warning posted Monday reads. “Because of the current situation in Japan, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan.”

The U.S. had issued Level 4 warnings for 80% of the countries in the world, CNET reported Monday, leaving Japan off the list. However the uptick in cases spurred the state department to add that nation Monday.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, CNET noted.

Japan lifted a state of emergency in March, and since then coronavirus cases have increased. A shortage of medical professionals and a lack of syringes have led just 2% of Japanese citizens to be vaccinated with at least one shot, CNN reported.

The country has mobilized military doctors and nurses to give shots to elderly people in Tokyo and Osaka as the government tries to stem the tide and accelerate the vaccine rollout, The Associated Press reported Monday.

It’s not clear whether that will be enough to keep the Games going and safe enough for athletes and spectators to participate and attend, CNN said. Pressure is mounting to cancel the Games, some of it coming from medical professionals such as the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, a 6,000-member doctors’ group, which recently penned a letter calling for a cancellation. In addition a petition supporting cancelation garnered 350,000 signatures in nine days and was submitted to organizers, CNN said.


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