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Holding Olympics led to public complacency toward COVID-19: Japan expert

Shigeru Omi, head of the government's coronavirus countermeasures subcommittee, is seen in this December 2020 file photo taken in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Hiroyuki Harada)

TOKYO -- Hosting the Olympics has impacted Japanese residents' coronavirus vigilance and led to infections staying high despite a state of emergency declaration, the government's top coronavirus adviser commented on Aug. 4.

    Shigeru Omi, head of the government's coronavirus countermeasures subcommittee, pointed out during an out-of-session meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Labor and Welfare, "I don't think that the infections (of people involved in the games) under the 'bubble system' are directly related to the rapid spread of infections at all. But I think that the fact that the Olympics are being held has had an impact on people's awareness."

    Omi also noted the impact of other factors as well, including the highly contagious delta variant and the diminishing effectiveness of emergency declarations, adding, "There is also the fact that the message from political leaders was not united, strong and clear."

    (Japanese original by Ryosuke Abe, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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