Tokyo 2020 organizers warn about the increase of COVID cases in non-fans of Olympics

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Banning fans from stadiums according to authorities is still a possible with the commencement of games in just over 3 weeks.

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have warned that if virus cases rise, the Games will be held behind closed doors, keeping ticket holders in the dark just three weeks before the opening ceremony.

With the Olympics starting during a pandemic, Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said on Friday that banning all fans from the Games is still an option.

The statement on Friday would be a reversal of the organizers’ decision 10 days ago to allow up to 10,000 fans to attend.

Traveling supporters from other countries were banned months ago due to the high risk they posed.

Rising new infections in Tokyo, the advent of the rapidly spreading Delta variety, and fears that the Olympics and Paralympics, with 15,400 participants and tens of thousands more visiting Japan, could develop into a super-spreader event, have prompted the possible about-face.

In a Friday briefing, Hashimoto said, “The scenario of infection evolves, and how it will be is still unclear.” “However, from the perspective of Tokyo 2020, we also include the alternative of not having spectators.”

Following a meeting of the International Olympic Committee, local organizers, the Japanese government, Tokyo metropolitan government officials, and the International Paralympic Committee, another decision on fans could be issued next week.

Dr Shigeru Omi, the government’s chief COVID-19 adviser, has repeatedly stated that the safest solution is to remove all fans.

On Friday, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike stated that this was her desire as well.

“We will continue to constantly monitor the infection situation and evaluate the appropriate course of action, with no spectators in mind,” Koike added.

Koike was addressing at a press conference after being hospitalized for more than a week with “extreme tiredness.”

She stated that she had not been hospitalized for COVID-19 and that she had tested negative.

Except for those on outlying Tokyo islands, Koike reiterated that all Tokyo legs of the torch relay would be taken off public roadways until July 16.

The idea of empty venues, according to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, is still being studied.

“I’ve made it clear that there’s a chance there won’t be any spectators,” Suga said on Thursday.

Last week’s judgment on fans allowed all outdoor and indoor venues to accept up to 50% of their capacity, but not more than 10,000 people.

Thousands of officials, sponsors, Olympic dignitaries, and others with tickets, according to Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, would be permitted to attend sites ahead of any spectator limits.

He said that they were not “technically” fans, but rather “organisers.”

If the Olympics are canceled, the IOC is expected to lose between $3 billion and $4 billion in broadcast revenue.

The stated cost of the Olympics is $15.4 billion, but government audits indicate that the true cost is significantly higher. Except for $6.7 billion, it’s all taxpayer money. The IOC gives $1.5 billion in total.

Source: Al Jazeera

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