Japan expands coronavirus state of emergency after spikes during Olympics in Tokyo

Japan is expanding its COVID-19 state of emergency to four new areas outside of Tokyo after record setting spikes hits the country amid the 2020 Olympic Games.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the emergency, which will start Monday, in the cities of Osaka, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba. The state of emergency will stay in effect until at least until Aug. 31.

The states of emergency in Tokyo and Okinawa will also last until the end of August, the Associated Press reports.

The summer Olympic games are based in Tokyo and are being played without spectators. 

Five other areas, including Hokkaido, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka, will be placed under lower emergency restrictions.

Cases in Japan have nearly doubled in the past week, reportedly threatening to collapse the country’s medical system.

Officials said some hospitals are full in Tokyo and that the total 2,995 patients have been hospitalized in the city, taking up about half of all hospital beds in Tokyo. 

Over 10,000 other patients are isolating at home or in designated hotels, with nearly 5,600 waiting at home while health centers decide where they will be treated, officials also said.

As of Thursday, 27% of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated, with 71.5% of the elderly are vaccinated.

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