Tuesday, January 18, 2022
HomenewsJapan Bans Fans from Tokyo Olympics Venues Due to Covid Emergency

Japan Bans Fans from Tokyo Olympics Venues Due to Covid Emergency

Japanese officials on July 8 announced that fans would not be allowed in most Olympic events. They also said that Tokyo would be going to remain under a state of emergency due to Covid-19. The Governor of Tokyo said the decision is heart-breaking, and it means that the Games will be conducted behind closed doors. The decision was a blow for organizers as they were building so much momentum for the event.

Last year, when the events were postponed due to pandemics, there was a talk that Japan would take a decision after they get proof that the world had overcome the coronavirus. But the harsh reality of the surge of infections and increase in contagious variants has spooked the Japan officials. Japan has seen a comparatively small coronavirus outbreak and has also avoided strict lockdowns. However, it slowly started the vaccination process, and only 15 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated.

After witnessing the surge in infections in Tokyo, Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that Tokyo would remain under a virus emergency starting from July 12 up to August 22. This measure is comparatively looser than other places lockdowns. However, the measure signals an increasing concern about the present rate of infections. It has also put pressure on the Olympic organizers, who expected to have around 10,000 local fans in the Olympic events venues, excluding overseas spectators.

Organizers on July 8 met with government officials and Olympic chiefs to make a decision on the topic. The Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto said fans would be banned from venues in Tokyo and venues in three surrounding regions, where the majority of the Olympic events will be held. The rules and regulations in other places will vary, and only limited spectators will be allowed in some regions.

Delta Variant Fears

The organizers said that a decision would not be taken on the spectators of the Paralympic Games, which starts from August 24 until the Olympics end. The ban comes after the Japanese Prime Minister announced the emergency measures. He told reporters that they would host the games under the virus state of emergency. He added that he thinks they can realize secure and safe Games by taking such measures.

Thomas Bach, the IOC chief on July 8, said that he would support the measures which are essential to have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for the spectators from Japan and for all participants. Japan has, to date, recorded about 14,900 deaths, even after avoiding strict lockdowns. However, the concerns that the new Delta variant could make a new wave may overwhelm the medical resources. Olympic organizers have taken extensive measures, which include regular testing of athletes and has limited their movement. They have taken all necessary steps to keep the Games participants and the public safe.

While inoculation is not necessary in order to participate in the Games, Thomas Bach said that 85 percent of the Olympic delegations would be vaccinated. He also said that nearly 100 percent of the IOC members and staff would be inoculated.

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