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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: No spectators to be allowed at Games as Covid cases continue to rise | Olympics News

Paralympics scheduled to start in Tokyo on August 24; decision not to allow fans made following meeting between organisers; Olympic Games also held in city this summer without spectators; over 4,000 athletes set to take part

Last Updated: 23/08/21 11:19am


All fans will be barred from the Paralympics in Japan because of the coronavirus pandemic, just as they were from the recently-completed Tokyo Olympics, organisers said on Monday.

There were a few exceptions made during the Olympics, with some fans allowed in outlying areas away from Tokyo. But for the Paralympics all fans will be barred, except the possibility of some children attending a few unspecified events.

Organisers have also asked the public not to come out to view road events.

The decision was announced after a meeting with International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons, organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa.

The Paralympics open on August 24 with about 4,400 athletes, a far smaller event than the Olympics with 11,000 athletes. But the Paralympics come as new infections have accelerated in Tokyo, which may expose an athlete population that is more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Parsons, speaking at a news conference, said there was no room for complacency in the wake of the Olympics.

“In light of the current case numbers in Tokyo and wider Japan, everyone attending these games must be vigilant,” Parsons said.

New infections in Tokyo tripled during the 17 days of the Olympics, although medical experts said the surge was not directly linked to the Tokyo Games. Rather, experts suggested an indirect effect as the public was distracted and lulled into a false sense of security that staging the Games offered.

With the situation growing worse, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday said a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas will be extended until September 12. The state of emergency has been in force since July 12 and was to end later this month.

The Paralympics end on September 5.

“The surge in infections is reaching alarming record highs,” Suga said after meeting with other government ministers.

On Friday, Tokyo logged 5,773 cases, a new high. On Sunday, the Japanese capital reported 4,295 cases. The rise in infections has severely strained the medical system.

Japan has attributed 15,400 deaths to COVID-19.


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