Almost exactly two months away from the first day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the US State Department issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning today, advising US citizens not to travel to the country of Japan.
While that seems particularly dramatic, especially in light of the Olympic Games on schedule to happen in July, dozens of other countries are currently listed in the same category on the State Department’s website, including locations as diverse as Sri Lanka (also listed today), Venezuela, Egypt, Russia, Hungary (location of the 2020 ISL season) Ireland, Mexico, and Laos, just to name a few.
Many of those countries were bumped up to “Level 4” roughly a month ago, when the State Department changed its travel advisories to more closely align with the CDC’s guidelines and take into effect not only currently Covid-19 cases, but also factors like “in-country testing availability and current travel restrictions for U.S. citizens.”
Japan’s coronavirus numbers have steadily risen over the last few weeks, with over 4,000 cases reported in the last 24 hours, according to the World Health Organization, and approximately 86,000 active cases. The number of cases per day is roughly the same as it was when Japan saw a big peak in cases in January, which promoted the country to declare a state of emergency. Much of the country is now once again under a state of emergency as the current rise in cases has strained medical resources, and reports indicate the the government intends to extend that state of emergency past its current expiration date of May 31st.
According to CNN, only 2% of Japan has been vaccinated thus far, while health officials seek to ramp up vaccination efforts in the weeks ahead.
In recent days, some prominent Japanese businessmen have called for the Olympics to be canceled or delayed, prompting IOC officials to provide reassurances that most athletes and officials will be vaccinated and isolated, even as polls indicate that a majority of the Japanese people would like to see the Games postponed or outright canceled.