Tokyo Olympics to be held without spectators as Japan declares 'COVID-19 emergency'
Tokyo (Japan) | Jagran Sports Desk: In a heartbreaking news, Olympic 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto on Thursday announced that the event will be held without spectaters amid fears second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes hours after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a "state of emergency" for Tokyo from July 12 till August 22.
"It is regrettable that we are delivering the Games in a very limited format, facing the spread of coronavirus infections," Hashimoto was quoted as saying by Reuters. "I am sorry to those who purchased tickets and everyone in local areas".
Earlier, the organiser had announced that 10,000 fans would be allowed as spectators at ll venues for Olympics in Tokyo. However, health experts in the country had raised questions over allowing fans, saying it might trigger a third wave of the pandemic in Tokyo.
Tokyo has also been reporting a spike in daily COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, the Japanese capital had reported 920 news COVID-19 cases, the biggest single-day spike since May this year.
Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa also announced that the organisers have agreed to decide for venues outside of the capital as per the local situation. "We will have to consider the option of no spectators," Marukawa said, as reported by The Associated Press.
The Olympics are pushing ahead against most medical advice, partially because the postponement stalled the IOC's income flow. It gets almost 75 per cent of its income from selling broadcast rights, and estimates suggest it would lose USD 3 billion to USD 4 billion if the Olympics were cancelled.
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 also entering. The IOC says more than 80 per cent of resident of the Olympic Village will be vaccinated.
Nationwide, Japan has had about 810,000 cases and nearly 14,900 deaths. Only 15 per cent of Japanese are fully vaccinated, still low compared with 47.4 per cent in the United States and almost 50 per cent in Britain.
(With inputs from agencies)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma