On Thursday, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President announced that the Tokyo Olympics will be held as scheduled from July 23 to August 8 but there would be no fans as the country is reeling from a new surge of COVID-19 cases. A short while earlier, the Japanese Government declared that strict measures to combat the virus have been reimposed in the capital.
A state of emergency has been declared, which will start coming Monday and continue till August 22. This is the fourth emergency in the country and was put in place after medical experts cautioned the government that its soft approach was leading to a spike in infections.
Some Olympic events will be held in venues outside Tokyo. No decision has been taken as yet about the presence of spectators for these events. Some of these events such as soccer, softball and baseball are scheduled to be held in regions that are not as yet under a state of emergency.
Before the pandemic there was a high demand for tickets especially among the Japanese. The Organizers were expecting to earn $800 million through ticket sales. Foreign fans had been banned but now the locals will not be able to witness the events in Tokyo, the venue for most of the events.
The spread of COVID-19 had resulted in halving the number of spectators and now the number of fans has changed from fifty percent to zero. Athletes and others will function within tight bubbles.
On Wednesday, 920 new cases were reported in Tokyo, while the number was 714 last week. Experts predict that the number of cases could rise to 1000 by the commencement of the Olympics and reach several thousands in August.
Earlier, Dr. Shigeru Omi, a top government medical adviser told reporters that the period from July to September would be Japan’s most critical times and so measures need to be in place to deal with rising COVID-19 cases.