In the wake of the Olympic Games closed on August 8, the Tokyo Paralympic Games will take place in almost total closed doors, the organizing committee announced on Monday August 16, eight days before the opening ceremony, a decision expected due to the record number of Covid-19 cases in Japan.
In front of this situation, “More stringent measures will be taken for competitions taking place” in the departments currently placed under a state of emergency in the face of the pandemic, “Including the absence of spectators”, the organizing committee said in a joint statement with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Japanese government and the city of Tokyo.
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This measure for the Paralympic Games, which are to be held from August 24 to September 5, is similar to that adopted for the Olympics closed on August 8, for which nearly 98% of the events were held behind closed doors, only relatively small departments. far from the capital having been able to welcome the public.
Pupils from local schools may however attend certain tests, at the request of local authorities or schools, with the aim of progressing towards “A more inclusive society”, specifies the press release.
37% of Japanese fully vaccinated
Japan has been experiencing its fifth and worst wave of the coronavirus to date since the end of June, with records of infections regularly recorded in Tokyo and nationally, notably under the effect of the Delta variant, which is more contagious.
The vaccination campaign, which started very late in the country, has accelerated in recent weeks, but only 37% of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated to date, the lowest rate among the industrialized countries of the G7.
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Faced with the worsening health situation before the Olympics, the Japanese government put in place in mid-July a state of emergency system in part of the country, including its capital, for the fourth time since the start of the pandemic.
But the device, which should be extended Tuesday until mid-September and extended geographically, according to local media, seems less and less effective: daily cases of Covid-19 continue to increase and have exceeded for the first time the 20,000 mark nationally on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 August.
They also hit a record high in Tokyo on Friday, where they quadrupled in three weeks. The Games Organizing Committee assures, however, that this wave of infections, which began several weeks before the Olympics, is not linked to the event.
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The approximately 4,400 athletes expected in Tokyo for the Paralympic Games will have to submit, like those who participated in the Olympics, to draconian measures, with daily Covid-19 tests and movement restrictions.