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Japan Plans State of Emergency Through Olympics

Brock Fritz

The COVID-19 pandemic will leave a significant mark on the Tokyo Olympics, as Japan’s capital city will be under a state of emergency from Monday through Aug. 22.

With the Summer Games — which were postponed a year by the coronavirus — scheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, The Associated Press reported that fans are likely to be banned from Olympic venues.

According to the AP, the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers will announce the extent of the fan ban Thursday. Tokyo’s most recent plan was to allow 10,000 local fans into Olympic venues, with each indoor and outdoor venue holding 50 percent of its capacity. However, as the coronavirus has ramped back up locally, government and Olympic officials have warned that the Games could be free of fans.

Related content: Tokyo Olympic Committee Eyes Spectator-Free Games

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach arrived in Tokyo on Thursday, just prior to Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga announcing the state of emergency.

“Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus prevention measures,” Suga said.

The emergency means that bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors serving alcohol are asked to close.

“How to stop people enjoying the Olympics from going out for drinks is a main issue,” health minister Norihisa Tamura said.

According to the AP, Tokyo reported 896 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the 19th straight day that cases have topped the mark set seven days prior.

A pair of Ugandan Olympic team members tested positive upon arrival in Japan, with one testing positive on June 19 at Narita International Airport and another testing positive on June 22 in Osaka.

Related content: Japan Upping COVID Controls After Positive Tests

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