Tokyo adopted tougher measures against the coronavirus Monday as it struggles to curb the rapid spread of a more contagious variant ahead of the Olympics in a country where less than one percent of people have been vaccinated.
The tougher Covid-19 rules, just three weeks after a state of emergency ended in the capital, allow Tokyo's governor to mandate shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants, punish violators and compensate those who comply.
The measures remain through May 11.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has asked residents to avoid nonessential trips and practice social distancing, and ordered bars and restaurants in many areas of the prefecture to close at 8 pm.
Japan started its vaccination drive with medical workers and expanded Monday to older residents, with the first shots being given in about 120 selected places around the country.
An elder care home in downtown Tokyo was among the locations where vaccines were being administered.
But Koike urged residents to buckle up and be cautious while vaccinations are in an early stage.
“We are still unarmed as we fight against the resurgence of the infections,” Koike said. “Please follow the guidelines.”
Just over 1 million people in the country have received the first of two vaccine doses, and the surge in cases may cause further cancellations of Olympic-related events.
The rest of the population is likely to have to wait until about July, making it almost impossible for Japan to reach so-called herd immunity before the Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23. (AP)
Tokyo adopts tougher Covid rules
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