U.S. warns against all travel to Japan due to surge in COVID-19 cases as Olympics loom
Warnings from CDC, State Department come less than 9 weeks before Summer Games start
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. State Department are warning Americans against all travel to Japan because of a surge in coronavirus cases in the country as it prepares to host the Olympics in just two months.
The twin alerts issued Monday don't ban U.S. citizens from visiting the country, but they could have an impact on insurance rates for travellers 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.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said it still anticipates that American athletes will be able to safely compete.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a news conference Tuesday that the warning does not prohibit essential travel and Japan believes the U.S. support for Tokyo's effort to hold the Olympics is unchanged.
"We believe there is no change to the U.S. position supporting the Japanese government's determination to achieve the games," Kato said, adding that Washington has told Tokyo the travel warning is not related to the participation of the U.S. Olympic team.
The Public Health Agency of Canada, meanwhile, continues to advise Canadian travellers to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country.
Canada is planning to send a full contingent of athletes to the Games. A message left with the Canadian Olympic Committee was not immediately returned.
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With files from The Canadian Press