Fans largely barred from Tokyo Olympics as Covid emergency declared

Fans largely barred from Tokyo Olympics as Covid emergency declared
The state of emergency will last until 22 August. Source: AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
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Daily US Times: The Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators at venues in and around the capital after a spike in coronavirus infections.

Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa announced the decision after talks with organisers and officials on Thursday.

A state of emergency in Japan’s capital will run throughout the Games, to combat coronavirus.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it would run from 12 July and remain in place until 22 August.

Restaurants and bars will not be allowed to serve alcohol and must close by 20:00 (11:00 GMT).

Venues in Tokyo and other areas near the Japanese capital will not be allowed to hold events with fans during the Games.

But stadiums in the regions of Miyagi, Fukushima and Shizuoka and will be permitted to have spectators up to 50% of capacity and up to 10,000 people.

Covid-19 infections are rising in Tokyo as the 23 July opening ceremony edges closer.

There has been widespread opposition to the Tokyo Olympics, with calls for them to be postponed or cancelled.

Tokyo Olympics President Seiko Hashimoto said after meeting government officials: “It is regrettable that we are delivering the Games in a very limited format, facing the spread of coronavirus infections.

“I am sorry to those who purchased tickets and everyone in local areas,” he said.

Governor Yuriko Koike of Tokyo said that holding Olympic events without spectators was “heart-breaking” for those who wanted to attend. It was not immediately clear if refunds will be made available to some or all ticketholders.

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