Tokyo Olympics Will Ban Spectators from Venues amid Japan's New COVID State of Emergency
The new state of emergency will be in place for the entirety of the Olympics, which are scheduled to take place in Tokyo from July 23 to Aug. 8
Fans have been banned from attending the Tokyo Olympics as a new state of emergency was declared in the Japanese capital where COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
Although overseas fans had already been banned from attending, it was announced on Thursday that spectators will no longer be permitted at Tokyo venues, according to CNN.
The news was shared shortly after officials confirmed that the state of emergency, Tokyo's fourth, will be in place for the entirety of the Olympics, which are scheduled to take place in the city from July 23 to Aug. 8.
"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," Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said after a meeting with Olympics officials, the Associated Press reported.
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Tokyo reported 920 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, an increase of 714 cases from the same time last week, according to the AP.
"The number of infected cases in the area including Tokyo has been increasing since the end of last month," Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday, the AP reported. "Considering the impact of variants, we need to enhance countermeasures so that the infection will not spread nationwide."
Suga said the state of emergency will begin Monday and last through Aug. 22.
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In recent months, there has been continued pressure for Japan to cancel or postpone the Games. In May, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association penned an open letter asking the government to convince the International Olympics Committee to nix this year's Olympics altogether, Reuters reported.
The letter came after a survey of Japanese residents found nearly 60 percent supported the event's cancelation.
The AP previously noted that estimates show the IOC would lose between $3 billion and $4 billion if the Games are canceled.
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After a previous meeting between the IOC and other Olympic organizations in June, Japan said it would allow up to 10,000 people at venues. Guests would have had to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask at all times, while also being prohibited from shouting or cheering.
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According to a New York Times database, only 15 percent of Japan's population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The country averages over 20 deaths from the illness every day.
To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23rd on NBC.