OFFICIAL: Fans banned from Olympics; Tokyo under state of emergency

T. Tadi
July 8, 2021  (10:28)

TOKYO, Japan — Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa told the Japanese news agency Kyodo that fans will be barred from attending the pandemic-affected Tokyo Olympics, which will begin in two weeks.

The International Olympic Committee and Japanese organisers announced the ban, effectively turning the games into a made-for-TV event.
Fans from outside Japan have been banned for months, and the new measures announced by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will remove all fans from all venues in Tokyo, both indoor and outdoor.
"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," Suga said.
Suga, who had long favored fans, hinted at a no-fan Olympics in announcing the state of emergency.
"I have already said I won't hesitate to have no spectators," he added.
Just two weeks ago, organizers and the IOC allowed venues to be filled to 50% of capacity but crowds not to exceed 10,000. The state of emergency has forced a late turnaround, which was always an option if infections got worse.
"We will have to consider the option of no spectators," Marukawa said in opening remarks with the IOC and others as they went into meetings to discuss a ban on fans.
The emergency's main focus is a request that bars, restaurants, and karaoke parlours that serve alcohol close. A prohibition on serving alcohol is a critical step in reducing Olympic-related celebrations and preventing people from drinking and partying. Stay-at-home requests are expected from Tokyo residents, who will be able to watch the games on TV from their homes.
"One of the main issues is how to prevent people who are enjoying the Olympics from going out for drinks," said Health Minister Norihisa Tamura.
The current state of emergency will be lifted on Sunday. On Thursday, Tokyo reported 896 new cases, up from 673 the week before. It's the 19th day in a row that cases have surpassed the seven-day high. On Wednesday, there were 920 new cases, which was the highest number ever.
"It's not too late. Cancel or postpone it," said Yukio Edano, the head of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party to Suga's LDP
"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.
"Two-thirds of the infections in the capital region are from Tokyo, and our concern is the spread of the infections to neighbouring areas," said Ryuji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Credit: SportsNet
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