The U.S. State Department on Monday issued the highest travel advisory for Japan due to “very high” levels of COVID-19 in the country.
“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan," according to the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "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 Level 4 advisory announcement comes less than two months before the scheduled July 23 opening ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to comment on the latest U.S. travel advisory, but said Friday that the games would still open, even if some parts of Japan were under a state of emergency due to COVID-19.
“It has become clearer than ever that these games will be safe for everyone participating and the Japanese people,” John Coates, the chair of the IOC’s Coordination Commission, said in a statement released May 21.
Last month, Japan declared its third state of emergency due to COVID-19. The extended state of emergency is set to expire on May 31, but the Associated Press reported that officials are warning that the situation is still not under control.
“If the current situation continues, I hope the government will have the wisdom not to end the emergency at the end of May,” Haruo Ozaki, head of the Tokyo Medical Association, told the weekly magazine Aera.
According to Reuters’ global tracker, only 4.4% of Japan’s population has received at least one vaccine dose, making it the slowest vaccination rate among the world’s wealthiest countries.