Tokyo Olympics To Go Ahead Without Spectators
This summer’s Olympic Games is set to go ahead in Tokyo without any spectators present.
The development comes after a recent surge in coronavirus cases, with Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto stating that organisers had reached an agreement that there shouldn’t be any spectators in attendance.
Hashimoto has described the situation as ‘regrettable’, and apologised to fans who have already purchased tickets to the games.
This decision has been expected, with the Japanese capital having recently seen a worrying surge in the number of new coronavirus infections. As reported by The Guardian, Tokyo reported 920 new cases on Wednesday, July 7, compared with 714 just one week earlier.
This is understood to be the highest total number of infections since May 13, when 1,010 were reported. A further 896 new cases were recorded on Thursday, July 8, amid escalating concerns regarding the new Delta variant.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has stated that Tokyo’s fourth state of emergency would begin as of Monday, July 12, just 11 days before the opening of the Olympic Games, ending on August 22:
Taking into consideration the effect of coronavirus variants and the need to prevent infections from spreading to the rest of the nation again, we need to strengthen our countermeasures. Given the situation, we will issue a state of emergency for Tokyo.
Under this state of emergency, the Japanese government will ban bars and restaurants from serving alcoholic beverages and will also be enforcing early closing times.
As per BBC News, this latest decision was announced following a meeting between the Olympic Games organising committee, members of the Japanese government and International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach.
Before the decision was officially confirmed, Hashimoto said:
We need to issue a message which is strong and easy to understand from the point of view of preventing the further spread [of the virus].
The rollout of vaccines has been notably slow in Japan compared with other countries, with just over 15% of citizens being fully vaccinated at the time of writing.
It’s hoped that all those over the age of 65 living in Tokyo and Osaka, the two cities which have suffered most during the latest surge, will be fully vaccinated by the end of the month.
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