Tokyo Catholic churches to keep restrictive measures during Olympics

Tokyo Olympic Games Covid-19

Despite the Japanese government lifting the COVID-19 state of emergency in many cities ahead of the Olympic Games, the Tokyo Archdiocese says it will maintain infection control measures.

Tokyo Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi said Catholics would remain on their guard following the government’s easing of restrictions. He said pandemic control measures will be in place in areas covered by the Tokyo Archdiocese.

Only a limited number of people will be allowed to enter churches. In addition, they will have to keep a one-meter distance from each other. Without such a measure, church services cannot take place.

Churches must also ensure sufficient ventilation during Mass. Mass goers are urged to leave church premises promptly after Mass and refrain from greeting and talking to one another.

The prelate noted that the number of positive cases and people with severe illnesses has decreased in Tokyo and other areas. However, he added that it might take some time before the majority of people are vaccinated.

The elderly and people with an illness are requested to stay and pray at home, and families need to ensure it. The obligation to participate in Sunday Mass is exempted for all persons in the parish, the archbishop said.

Japan has seen a decline in new infections and deaths from the pandemic in recent days. On June 20, the country recorded 1,308 cases and 20 deaths from Covid-19, the Japan Times reported.

Japan announced the lifting of its third state of emergency on June 20 in nine prefecture-level cities. However, seven areas, including Tokyo and Osaka will remain under quasi-emergency measures until July 11. Only Okinawa Prefecture remains in a state of emergency.

The postponed Olympic Games are set to begin on July 23 and the Paralympics on Aug 24.

Japan has banned foreign spectators from attending the global sporting events. However, the government will allow about 10,000 local spectators under strict health and physical distancing rules.

Japan has recorded over 786,000 cases and more than 14,370 deaths from Covid-19.


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