U.S. health officials and the State Department on Monday warned Americans against travel to Japan because of a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, which is preparing to host the Olympics in just two months.
The twin alerts don’t ban U.S. citizens from visiting the country, but they could have an impact on insurance rates for travelers and may factor into decisions by Olympic athletes and spectators on whether to compete in or attend the games, which are due to start in July. There was no immediate indication as to what effect the warnings might have on would-be Olympic-goers.
“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan,” the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new COVID-19 update. “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 State Department's warning, which followed the CDC alert, was more blunt. “Do not travel to Japan due to COVID-19,” it said in the announcement, which raised the department's travel alert from Level 3 — Reconsider travel — to Level 4 — Do not travel. The previous alert was issued on April 21.
In other developments:
- India crossed another grim milestone Monday with more than 300,000 people lost to the coronavirus, while a devastating surge of infections appeared to be easing in big cities but was swamping the poorer countryside.
- Late-night host Stephen Colbert will return to doing live shows before a studio audience on June 14. Audience members at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York will be required to show proof of vaccination before being admitted, and face masks will be optional for them.
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a return to normal for the nation's largest public school system on Monday as he announced that classrooms will open for in-person instruction in September with no remote option.
- Nearly 2.8 million residents have registered for Ohio's Vax-a-Million vaccination incentive program, with participants hoping to win either the $1 million prize for adults or a full-ride college scholarship for children, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.
- French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are rallying around efforts to strengthen the World Health Organization and the world’s ability to prepare for and defend against pandemics.
- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has rescinded a rule limiting the number of people at restaurant tables, a day after she apologized for violating the COVID-19 regulation while gathering with friends at an East Lansing bar.
- Federal health officials’ new, more relaxed recommendations on masks have all but eclipsed another major change in guidance from the government: Fully vaccinated Americans can largely skip getting tested for the coronavirus.