Fans Banned At Olympics As Tokyo Enters State Of Emergency

A man wearing a protective mask walks near the Olympic Rings Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Tokyo | AP Photo

TOKYO: Fans are banned from the Tokyo Olympics following a state of emergency aimed at containing rising coronavirus infections in the capital.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the state of emergency. The International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers followed by banning local fans from the Olympics. Fans from aboard were banned months ago.

“Many people were looking forward to watching the games at the venues, but I would like everyone to fully enjoy watching the games on TV at home,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said after meeting with IOC and Japanese organizers on Thursday.

The emergency declaration was made the same day as the arrival in Japan for IOC President Thomas Bach. He will spend three days in self-isolation at the five-star hotel that lodges IOC members.

PM Suga said the state of emergency would go into effect on Monday and last through Aug. 22. This means the Olympics, opening on July 23 and running through Aug. 8, will be held entirely under emergency measures. The Paralympics open on Aug. 24.

“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 favoured 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.

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