Kyodo News Digest: May 23, 2021
Written by tokyoclub on May 23, 2021
People wearing face masks walk on a main street in the southern Japan city of Naha on May 23, 2021, as a state of emergency takes hold in Okinawa Prefecture amid surging coronavirus infections. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.
TOKYO – Japan’s top government spokesman on Sunday referred to the possibility of extending a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus in Tokyo, Osaka and seven other prefectures beyond the May 31 expiration date.
The government “will discuss whether to scale down (the state of emergency) to quasi-emergency measures, or to bring (the nine prefectures) back to a normal state if a certain period of continuation of the (state of emergency) declaration significantly improves the situation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on an NHK program.
TOKYO – Though a Japanese athlete has yet to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus concerns, more are weighing in on the risks and potential downsides of a decision to move forward with holding the Summer Games during the pandemic.
With exactly two months to go until the July 23 opening ceremony, Tokyo is under a third coronavirus state of emergency, but organizers continue to say they are still not considering canceling the Olympics.
BEIJING – Twenty-one people were confirmed dead after extreme weather hit China’s northwest Gansu Province during a 100-kilometer cross-country race there this weekend, state-run media reported Sunday.
The race started on Saturday morning at the Yellow River Stone Forest tourist site in Baiyin. From the afternoon, freezing rain lashed the region and participants suffered from physical discomfort and the sudden drop in temperature, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
TOKYO – Over half of nurses working at coronavirus hospital wards have thought about quitting their jobs, a recent survey has found, highlighting the increasing strain on the country’s medical system due to an alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 patients.
A total of 118 nurses, or 51.3 percent of the 230 respondents, said they had either “always” or “sometimes” considered leaving, citing too-high levels of stress and concerns about possible infections, a survey conducted in January and February by the Japan National Hospital Workers’ Union showed.
TOKYO – More Japanese government officials and Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizers are inclined to allow a certain number of spectators at this summer’s games if thorough anti-coronavirus measures are taken, sources close to the matter said Saturday.
The sources’ remarks come just two months before the opening of the Olympics on July 23, and despite growing public calls for canceling the events due to skepticism about the ability of the organizers to contain the spread of the virus.
YOKOHAMA – A roughly 3.5 meter-long pet python that managed to break free from an apartment in Yokohama earlier this month was caught alive Saturday, about two weeks after an intense search involving police, firefighters and reptile experts, people involved in the search said.
The reticulated python, a species considered one of the world’s largest snakes, is not venomous but constricts and suffocates its prey. It was found in the attic of the apartment at around 4:45 p.m.
Malaysia decides against lockdown despite surge in COVID-19 cases+
KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 Kyodo – Malaysia on Saturday decided against a nationwide lockdown despite daily COVID-19 cases hitting more than 6,000 this week.
Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who coordinates the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions in the country, said in a press conference other measures will be implemented, including shortened business hours and requiring millions of more people to work from home.