International fans banned from Tokyo Olympics over COVID fears

Overseas fans banned from Tokyo Olympics over COVID fears
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were postponed last year to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: International fans will be barred from this year’s Tokyo Olympics because of ongoing Covid-19 infection surge concerns, organisers announced on Saturday.

The decision was announced after an online meeting of the Japanese government, the Tokyo government, International Olympic Committee (IOC) the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and local organisers.

In a statement, Tokyo 2020 organising body said: “In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The statement added that the IOC and IPC “fully respect and accept this conclusion”.

The Games were postponed last year to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan has attributed about 8,800 deaths to coronavirus and has controlled the disease better than most countries.

About one million tickets are reported to have been sold to international from while 4.45 million tickets were sold to Japan residents.

Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the organising committee, said: “We could wait until the very last moment to decide, except for the spectators.”

“They have to secure accommodations and flights. So we have to decide early otherwise we will cause a lot of inconvenience from them. I know this is a very tough issue,” he said.

IOC President Thomas Bach called banning international fans a “difficult decision”.

He said: “We have to take decisions that may need sacrifice from everybody.”

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