In a move to combat COVID-19, the Olympic Games in Tokyo venue will be held under state emergency without spectators, organizers announced on Thursday, July 8.
The decision was reached after five Olympic and Japanese government groups consulted together over the potential threats of the lethal disease.
“We reached an agreement on no spectators at venues in Tokyo,” said Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa, according to NDTV Sport.
While most Olympic Games will be held in the capital Tokyo, several events are conducted in other areas. CNN reported that authorities may still accept fans in those venues.
“A very heavy judgment was made,” said Japanese Olympic Committee head Seiko Hashimoto of the restriction in a press conference. She said the current manifestation of the pandemic left them “no choice but to hold the Games in a limited way.”
The news came just hours after Tokyo announced a state of emergency order starting from July 12 and would expand until August 22. The Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled to begin on July 23.
“The number of infected cases in the area including Tokyo has been increasing since the end of last month,” said grim Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday. “Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus prevention measures.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics was meant to launch in July last year, but in the face of the perils with COVID-19 (Chinese Communist Party Virus) on the loose, it has been postponed until now. Resuming the event this year, its organizers have blocked international fans since March.
A day before the emergency announcement, Tokyo reported 920 new cases on Wednesday, up from 714 last week and its highest since 1,010 on May 13. In that, 30% of the cases were attributable to the notorious Delta variant. The growing trend has led experts to anticipate that Japan would reach 1,000 cases daily by August.
“The infections are in their expansion phase and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it,” Dr. Shigeru Omi, a top government medical adviser, said per Euronews.
“The period from July to September is the most critical time for Japan’s COVID-19 measures,” he added.
At present, Japan only has 15% of its population fully immunized against coronavirus.