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SAFETY FIRST: Tokyo 2020 will have no spectators

The Tokyo Games are on course despite hitches created by new restrictions due to COVID-19. PHOTO IOC/Yuichi Yamazaki

Tokyo, Japan | THE INDEPENDENT & XINHUA | The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan (GoJ) have met today, and agreed to COVID-19 restrictions that will see no spectators at the main venues.

The meeting was held hours after the Japanese government decided  to put capital Tokyo under the fourth state of emergency over COVID-19, covering the duration of the Olympics, in an effort to curb a recent surge in infections.

The Games, that were to have been held last year, will be the first Olympics in modern times to be held without spectators. It is however not the first time the Olympics have had to be put on hold since 1896, with three cancelled since then all on account of a world war.

The state of emergency in Tokyo is being implemented as a measure aimed at suppressing the flow of people in order to prevent the spread of infection now, because the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains high and the number of people infected with variant COVID-19 strains in Tokyo is increasing.

“We are hoping to keep people from moving around during the summer break and the Bon holidays until vaccinations move further along,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the nation’s COVID-19 response.

In a statement, the IOC and IPC said they would respect this decision and support it in the interest of safe and secure Games for everybody.

“At the same time, all five parties deeply regret for the athletes and for the spectators that this measure had to be put in place for the reasons outlined,” the IOC said.

Uganda will be one of over 200 countries still expected to compete in Tokyo. Uanda will be led by 5,000m and 10,000m world champions Joshua Cheptegei.



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