Tokyo. Fans were banned from the pandemic- postponed Tokyo Olympic which will open in two weeks, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said after meeting with IOC and Japanese organizers on Thursday.
The ban comes hours after a state of emergency in the capital starting from Monday, declared by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to contain rising Covid 19 cases in the country.
These decisions have turned Olympics into a made-for-TV event pushed by the Japanese Government and supported by the International Olympic Committee.
“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”, Koike said after the meeting.
Suga said the state of emergency would go into effect on Monday and last through August 22. “Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the outbreak of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus prevention measures”, he stated.
Just 2 weeks ago, organizers and the IOC allowed venues to be filled to 50 percent of capacity but crowd not to exceed 10,000. The state of emergency has forced a late turnaround.
The main focus of the emergency is a request for bars, restaurants, and karaoke parlors serving alcohol to close.
“How to stop people enjoying the Olympics from going out for drinks is a main issue “, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said.
Tokyo reported 896 new cases on Thursday, up from 673 a week earlier. It’s the 19th straight day that cases of infection has topped the mark set seven days before. New cases on Wednesday hit 920, the highest total since 1,010 were reported on May 13.
“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 Disease.
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.