Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihde Suga announces a state of emergency for Tokyo with the Olympics opening in just two weeks. This announcement means, Tokyo Olympics, starting from July 23 and running through August 8, will be held entirely under emergency measures. This would mean that the plan to have local spectators during the matches is abandoned. With the games beginning from July 23, the organizers are determined that they will go on with the current schedule, even with a reduced number of spectators or none at all.
Suga said the state of emergency was needed to “prevent the resurgence of the future spread on cases across the country.” The main focus of the emergency is a request to close the bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors serving alcohol. A ban on serving alcohol is a key step to tone down Olympic-related festivities and keep people away from drinking and partying. Tokyo residents are expected to face stay-home requests and watch the games on TV from home.
“The Period from July to September is the most crucial time for Japan’s Covid 19 Measures“, says Dr. Shigeru Omi who is a top government Medical Adviser. Japan has reported 810K cases till now and nearly 15K deaths.
Unclear How The Torch Will Enter The Stadium For The Opening Ceremony
Fans from abroad were months ago banned from attending the Olympics. But just two weeks ago, organizers and the IOC decided to allow venues to be filled to 50 percent of capacity but crowds not to exceed 10,000. The state-of-emergency will force them to change plans again with a decision probably coming later on Thursday.
The soaring cases are likely to mean that venues will be without any spectators, although sponsors and others may have access. The no-fan atmosphere could include the opening ceremony at the USD 1.4 billion National Stadium. The growth in infections has also forced the Tokyo government to pull the Olympic torch relay off capital streets, allowing it to run only on remote islands off the Tokyo coast. “The infections are in their expansion phase and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it,” Dr. Shigeru Omi said. He urged authorities to quickly take tough measures ahead of the Olympics, with summer vacations approaching.
Tokyo Being The Hub Of Virus Spread In Japan
“Two-thirds of the infections in the capital region are from Tokyo, and our concern is the spread of the infections to neighboring areas,” said Ryuji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The Olympics are pushing ahead against most medical advice, partially because the postponement stalled the IOC’s income flow. It gets almost 75% of its income from selling broadcast rights, and estimates suggest it would lose $3 billion to $4 billion if the Olympics were canceled.
About 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are expected to enter Japan, with tens of thousands of officials, judges, administrators, sponsors, broadcasters, and media also entering. The IOC says more than 80% of residents of the Olympic Village will be vaccinated.
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