The Olympics are a celebration of sports and not intended to require attendees to risk death.
To that end, the very future of the Tokyo Games this summer is in jeopardy, with the U.S. State Department adding to the chorus of warnings.
With only eight weeks to go until the Opening Ceremony, U.S. citizens have officially been issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory.
If you’re keeping score, that’s the most serious level among travel warnings.
In Japan, there have been more than 36,000 COVID-19 cases and 779 deaths just over the past seven days, according to NBC News, and more than 715,000 cases with 12,000 deaths overall.
The country, by the way, is still under a state of emergency and its population is not terribly eager to welcome the throngs of Olympians and fans.
With Japan’s numbers – infections and limited vaccinations – drawing concern, an online petition to cancel the Olympics now has north of 388,000 signatures.
Billionaire SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son urged, via Twitter, the country and the International Olympic Committee to reconsider holding the Games.
“Currently more than 80% of people want the Olympics to be postponed or canceled. Who and on what authority is it being forced through?” Son wrote Saturday.
Only 3.5% of the Japanese population has been vaccinated.
As for travel details, the State Department reiterated that short-term and tourist travel to Japan is still not allowed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel advisory on Monday.
“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan,” the agency said. “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 agency added, “If you must travel to Japan, get fully vaccinated before travel.”