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Suga visits Haneda airport for briefing on anti-virus border measures

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited Tokyo's Haneda airport Monday and was briefed on border measures to prevent COVID-19 from being brought into Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, set to begin in less than a month.
The games will bring tens of thousands of athletes, staff and journalists to the capital, where infections are gradually increasing again just a week after a state of emergency was lifted.
"We must continue implementing anti-virus measures while remaining highly vigilant," Suga told reporters. "If necessary, we will quickly take additional steps."
Such steps could include declaring another state of emergency or extending restrictions on business activity currently in place under a quasi-emergency, which would likely see fewer, if any, spectators at Olympic and Paralympic venues.
Japan's border measures have been under scrutiny since a member of the Ugandan Olympic delegation tested positive for the coronavirus upon arriving at Narita airport near Tokyo on June 19. The rest of the team was allowed to travel by chartered bus to Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, where another member was later found to be infected.
Officials of the Olympics organizing committee have expressed the need for stricter COVID-19 guidelines in the wake of the incidents.
Athletes and staff will be isolated if they may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, taking a separate car to their destination, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference.
At Haneda, Suga was also shown around a vaccination site set up by All Nippon Airways Co to inoculate pilots, flight attendants and other staff.
Such sites were launched at workplaces across the country last week, but the government is no longer accepting applications from companies for more doses as it may not be able to provide enough of the allocated Moderna Inc. vaccine.
"We will closely examine the situation and ensure as many people as possible are vaccinated," Suga said.
The decision does not affect large-scale vaccination centers operated by the Self-Defense Forces in Tokyo and Osaka, which on Monday began giving many people their second shots.
"I'm glad I could get it quicker here," said Satoko Kobayashi, 76, who opted to use the Tokyo site rather than wait to make a reservation in the municipality she resides in.
The SDF-run vaccination centers opened in late May, initially for people aged 65 or older living in or around Tokyo and Osaka. They opened up to other age groups and residents of other areas earlier this month and are slated to operate through the end of July.
Japan's vaccine rollout has sharply accelerated in recent weeks, with a little more than 9 percent of the population fully inoculated against COVID-19 as of Thursday.


© KYODO
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