Japan Health Official Asks Citizens to Avoid Trips, Warns Tokyo COVID Infections Will Grow

Japan's top medical advisor for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government, Dr. Shigeru Omi, urged authorities to step up virus measures and people to avoid traveling, the Associated Press reported.

He said the ongoing upsurge or COVID-19 cases in Tokyo will likely accelerate with summer vacation, the Olympics, and the Buddhist holiday week in August when people are likely to travel.

The next couple of months will be crucial in Japan's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, according to Omi. He urged people to watch the Olympics at home in small groups of family or close friends.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

COVID-19 Cases Likely to Get Worse, Tokyo
Shigeru Omi, President of the Japan Community Health Care Organization, said the number of coronavirus cases will likely get worse and urged people not to travel as the Olympics and a Buddhist holiday soon arrive. Here, Omi attends a news conference at his official residence on June 17, 2021, in Tokyo. Issei Kato/Getty Images

COVID-19 Outbreak is "a Pandemic of the Unvaccinated," says CDC Director

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. is becoming "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

Speaking during a White House briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky says cases in the U.S. are up about 70 percent over the last week, hospital admissions are up 36 percent and deaths rose by 26 percent. Nearly all hospital admissions and deaths, she says, are among the unvaccinated.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients echoed the pandemic is "one that predominantly threatens unvaccinated people."

He says the Biden administration expects cases to increase in the weeks ahead because of spread in communities with low vaccination rates. Four states accounted for 40 percent of new cases last week, with one in five coming from Florida.

But Zients says there are signs that increased cases are driving more people in those communities to seek vaccination at rates faster than the national average.

Eiffel Tower Opens for First Time in 9 Months

The Eiffel Tower is reopening for the first time in nine months even though France is under new rules aimed at taming the delta variant.

This week, President Emmanuel Macron announced COVID-19 passes would be required to enter restaurants and venues such as the Eiffel Tower. Starting Wednesday, all visitors over 18 will need to show a pass proving they've been fully vaccinated, had a negative virus test or recently recovered from COVID-19.

The "Iron Lady" of Paris was ordered shut in October as France contended with its second virus surge of the pandemic. The tower stayed shut for renovations after most of the major tourist draws reopened last month.

Delta Variant Could Bring Hospital Numbers to "Quite Scary" Levels

The British government's top medical adviser has warned that the number of people in hospital with the coronavirus could reach "quite scary" levels within weeks as cases soar from the delta variant and the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Professor Chris Whitty spoke on a webinar hosted by London's Science Museum, saying the U.K. is "not out of the woods yet." His comments came in the wake of government figures showing that coronavirus infections have struck another six-month high and the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 and subsequently dying are at their highest level since March.

There were 3,786 people in hospital with COVID-19 and another 63 virus-related deaths reported Thursday. Another 48,553 confirmed lab cases were reported Thursday, the biggest daily figure since Jan. 15. The government has stated that daily infections could hit 100,000 this summer.

At the height of the second wave earlier this year, some 40,000 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 and deaths reached 1,500 people a day.

Japanese Doctor Warns People Against Traveling
The Eiffel Tower is reopening Friday for the first time in nine months, just as France faces new virus rules aimed at taming the fast-spreading delta variant. Here, people relax at the Champ-de-Mars garden next to the Eiffel Tower on July 16, 2021. Michel Euler/Associated Press