With Olympics looming, US advises against travel to Japan due to COVID-19

Coronavirus

TOKYO, JAPAN – MAY 12: The Olympic Rings are displayed by the Odaiba Marine Park Olympic venue on May 12, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. With less than three months to go until the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, concern continues to mount over the feasibility of hosting the event while Japan grapples with a fourth wave of coronavirus and many other countries are stricken by the pandemic. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. State Department on Monday urged against travel to Japan due to a new wave of COVID-19 infections, issuing a “Do Not Travel” advisory just two months before the Tokyo Olympics are set to take place.

The State Department also issued its “Level 4” warning against travel for Sri Lanka amid surging cases of the novel coronavirus there. It saw a lower risk in visiting the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda , lowering the islands to a “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel” designation.

The U.S. warnings come as the Tokyo Olympics are set to get underway July 23, something a top Olympic officials last week said would happen even under a state of emergency after being postponed last year.

The State Department guidance did not mention the upcoming Olympic games specifically but warned against visiting the country now.

“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new guidance. “Because of the current situation in Japan even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan.”

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which oversees Team USA, said in a statement to Reuters that is has been made aware of the updated State Department advisory as it relates to Japan.

“We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, coupled with the testing before travel, on arrival in Japan, and during Games time, will allow for safe participation of Team USA athletes this summer,” the statement said.

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