With Olympics looming, US advises against travel to Japan due to COVID-19

WASHINGTON, May 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Monday urged against travel to Japan because of a new wave of coronavirus cases just two months before the Tokyo Olympics are set to begin.

The department also issued its "Level 4" warning against travel to Sri Lanka amid surging infections there. It saw a lower risk in visiting the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda , lowering the islands to a "Level 3 – Reconsider Travel" designation.

The U.S. "Do Not Travel" advisory and guidance for Japan did not mention the Olympics specifically but warned against visiting the country now. A top Olympic official last week said the Games would start as planned on July 23 even under a state of emergency after being postponed in 2020 during the pandemic. read more

Passengers walk along terminal B of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., May 23, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

"Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new guidance. "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 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which oversees Team USA, said in a statement to Reuters that is has been made aware of the updated State Department advisory as it relates to Japan.

"We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, coupled with the testing before travel, on arrival in Japan, and during Games time, will allow for safe participation of Team USA athletes this summer," the statement said.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Susan Heavey

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