| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

Japan to announce COVID-19 emergency for Tokyo as it considers Olympics without fans

Japan is set to announce a state of emergency for Tokyo during its hosting of the Olympics to try to curb a new wave of Covid-19 infections, a key minister said on Thursday, as organizers consider banning all spectators from the Games.

Medical advisers experts have said for weeks that having no spectators at the Games would be the least risky option amid widespread public concern that the influx of thousands of athletes and officials will fuel a fresh wave of infections.

Organizers have already barred overseas spectators and have for now set a cap on local viewers at 50 percent of capacity, up to 10,000 people. Talks to complete the restrictions on the spectators are expected either on Thursday or on Friday.

The talks would be presided over by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, who arrives in Tokyo on Thursday to oversee the last leg of the preparations.

Japan’s economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who heads the government’s coronavirus response, said a state of emergency in Tokyo is set to begin on July 12 and run through Aug 22.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to run from July 23 to Aug. 8.

  • Reuters