Tokyo 2020: Japan closes border to foreign athletes

By Joe Apu

The health regulations and restriction in Japan are to remain in place with a ban on foreign athletes prevented from entering the country to train ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Japanese government confirmed that Tokyo will remain under heightened COVID-19 restrictions until March 21 as the state of emergency in the country’s capital has been extended for two weeks, according to InsidetheGames.

The measures in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba were due to be lifted on March 7. Similar measures in Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Gifu, and Fukuoka prefectures were ended six days earlier than planned.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike had suggested caution over lifting restrictions in the capital, despite a fall in COVID-19 cases. Koike noted that Tokyo was expected not to reach a target for daily new cases to be under 70 percent of the number confirmed the previous week.

Japan’s cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato confirmed the restrictions would be extended for two weeks.

“Regarding the critical situation of the number of hospital beds available, it does not appear that pressure is easing in a stable manner,” Kato said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Under the state of emergency restrictions, restaurants and bars are asked to close by 8pm, with venues required to stop serving alcohol an hour prior. The public are asked to remain at home after 8pm unless they have essential reasons to go out.