Japan battling virus threat ahead of delayed Olympics

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TOKYO: Japan has managed to fight the coronavirus pandemic through quarantine, social distancing and states of emergency since the global outbreak of the virus began early last year.
The Japanese health ministry, under the directive of Japan’s minister overseeing vaccinations Taro Kono, began administering vaccines to medical staff on Feb. 17.
The country has so far approved only the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and started administering the first shots in a Tokyo hospital.
The uphill battle Japan and the rest of the world faced during this pandemic was no easy feat.
On Jan. 16 last year, the Japanese health ministry confirmed the first coronavirus case in the country.
A week later, the foreign ministry issued a level two travel warning for the city of Wuhan in China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
By the end of January, more cases were detected that were either asymptomatic or showed mild symptoms. By February and March, the outbreak had reached most parts of the world, with talks of lockdowns, quarantine and social distancing measures.
Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe announced in March a 270 billion yen ($2.5 billion) emergency economic package to help fight the pandemic as he sought public support for his government’s fight against the outbreak.
Travel restrictions were also put in place and a state of emergency was discussed in Tokyo as cases continued to rise in and out of Japan.
The country opened back up around June and by August cases began to rise again. By November, Japan’s Imperial Household Agency had decided to cancel the 2021 New Year greetings by the Imperial Family to visitors at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo due to the threat of the virus.

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