Olympics to allow limited spectators at Tokyo Games

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The Tokyo Olympics will allow 50% capacity or up to 10,000 spectators inside venues hosting competitions this summer, officials announced on Monday.

While spectators from abroad will still not be allowed into Japan, local fans may participate in the Summer Olympics, as long as officials don’t introduce new measures to prevent coronavirus infections in case an outbreak occurs, according to a joint statement by the Olympic committees and the Tokyo and Japanese governments.

“In the event that a state of emergency or other priority measures aimed at preventing infection are implemented at any time after 12 July 2021, restrictions on spectator numbers at the Games, including non-spectator competitions, will be based on the content of the state of emergency or other relevant measures in force at that time,” the statement read.

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Any such event would initiate another meeting between the three Olympic committees, which include the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, and the Tokyo and Japanese governments in order to consider further measures, the statement added.

Monday’s announcement follows a separate decision by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike to close public viewing locations during the games due to COVID-19.

“I believe these are necessary measures, when looking from various perspectives, for a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Koike said.

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Koike added that residents are feeling “very uneasy” about the games because of the coronavirus and insisted that any outbreak would prompt officials to consider prohibiting fans.

“We have concerns, and the experts are also making recommendations about the risk of spreading the infection,” Koike said. “If there should be a major change in the sanitary situation or infection situation, we need to revisit this matter among ourselves, and we may need to consider the option of having no spectators in the venues.”

Coronavirus guidelines for the games prohibit spectators from “speaking in a loud voice or shouting,” the Monday statement said. Face masks will also be required at all times, as will the maintenance of social distancing.

The Tokyo Games, which were scheduled to take place in 2020 but were delayed due to the coronavirus, are set to begin on July 23. The Paralympic Games commence on Aug. 24.

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A vocal campaign among Japanese nationals has lobbied against the country hosting the games, with more than 70% of the public thinking the Olympics should be postponed or canceled, according to one survey.

One expert, who is part of a panel advising the country's health ministry for the games, said Japan "can't rely" on vaccinations to protect the public from the ascendant Delta virus variant.

"We have to take action to limit the spread of the Delta variant and the flow of people,” Dr. Takaji Wakita said.

As of Sunday, 17.74% of the Japanese population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to Our World in Data.

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Tags: News, Tokyo, Japan, Olympics, Coronavirus, Games

Original Author: Jeremy Beaman

Original Location: Olympics to allow limited spectators at Tokyo Games

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