There will be “No spectators” at the Tokyo Olympic Games venues due to the new rise in Covid-19 cases in the Japanese capital, Games Minister Tamayo Marukawa announced this Thursday, July 8.
Earlier this Thursday, the Japanese government had already confirmed its intention to establish a new state of health emergency from Monday until August 22, a device that will thus encompass the entire period of the Olympics, which last until 8 August.
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“We will support all measures that allow the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be safe for the Japanese and for the participants”, explained the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, who arrived in Japan during the day.
The Olympic torch relay behind closed doors
In March, the authorities had already banned the arrival of spectators from abroad – a first in Olympic history – and last month, they had allowed local spectators to 50% of the capacity of a site, and in a cap of 10,000 people. A number finally reduced to zero by the Covid-19 epidemic.
The Olympic torch relay, which has been banned on public roads in most of Japan, will also take place behind closed doors from Friday in the capital, where very limited ceremonies are scheduled until the Games instead. .
While the Japanese archipelago has been relatively spared so far by the Covid-19 pandemic, with around 14,900 officially recorded deaths since early 2020, its vaccination program only accelerated from May.
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Just over 15% of the population has been fully vaccinated so far, and experts fear the Delta variant could cause a new wave that could overwhelm hospitals in Japan, which has already seen three states of emergency since l ‘last year. A health situation that made many Japanese hostile to the holding of the Games.