Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged young people on Wednesday to take measures to reduce the high infection rate and get vaccinated, saying that their activities are the key to slowing the surge during the Olympics.
On Wednesday, the Japanese capital reported a record 3,177 cases, breaking through 3,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.
“Please make sure to avoid unnecessary outings and follow basic anti-infection measures. I hope young people get vaccinated,” Koike said, adding that slowing young people’s activities is the “key” to slowing down infections.
Vaccination Minister Taro Kono told the Associated Press that Japan “exceeded” its goal of 1 million vaccination per day, so “speed is no longer important.”
After a late start in Japan, an average of about 10 million shots per week.
In an interview, Kono said in English: “Even if we slow down a little bit, I’m fine. On the contrary, we need to reach out to young people to make them feel that they need to be vaccinated.” In his office.
Health experts point out that the number of unvaccinated young people is rising sharply. Although about two-thirds of the cases on Wednesday were people in their 30s or younger, people in their 50s now dominate the nearly 3,000 hospitalized patients in Tokyo and are gradually filling up the available beds.
According to reports, the authorities plan to require medical institutions to increase their capacity to approximately 6,000 people.
Dr. Ryuji Wakita, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and head of the Government Advisory Committee, said that progress in vaccination is mainly limited to the elderly, while young people are still largely unprotected.
As of Tuesday, 25.5% of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated. The proportion of fully vaccinated elderly people is 68.2%, or 36 million people.
He said that urgent measures should be taken resolutely to prevent the virus from spreading further during the Olympic Games and summer vacation. Wakita acknowledged that the increase in severe cases is not large compared to the sharp increase in daily cases, but even so, the continuous surge may still cause young and unvaccinated patients to gush from the hospital to stay at home without treatment. The situation developed into severe illness. “
The younger generation is basically not vaccinated, which is why people in their 40s and 50s are increasingly being infected and hospitalized,” he said. “The level of vaccination in Japan has not yet reached the level that we can easily allow the number of infections to increase. Degree. rise. “
The prospects for young people to get vaccinated have improved. Some people can get vaccinated through workplace and university organizations, while others still wait based on seniority. But there are also young people’s concerns about indecision, and surveys show that many of them have doubts, partly because of false rumors about side effects.
The state of emergency may expand
Tokyo is in the fourth state of emergency, which will continue until the Olympic Games, but it will mainly focus on requiring places to stop supplying alcohol and shorten business hours. Public-facing measures are merely requests and are increasingly being ignored.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also urged people to avoid unnecessary outings, but said that there is no need to consider suspending the Olympics because there are no fans in Tokyo and the three neighboring counties-Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.
The governors of the three regions were shocked by the surge of cases in Tokyo and said on Wednesday that they plan to jointly request Yoshihide Suga to also put their prefectures in a state of emergency.
Nationwide, Japan has reported 5,020 cases in the past 24 hours, totaling 870,445 cases and 15,129 confirmed deaths. The number of cases and deaths in Japan has been lower than in many other countries. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, its 7-day rolling average number of cases is approximately 3.57 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 2.76 cases in India, 17.3 cases in the United States, and 53.1 cases in the United Kingdom.