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Only 10,000 fans allowed at Olympic venues

·2-min read
Seiko Hashimoto, president of Tokyo 2020 and IOC president Thomas Bach during today's meeting about spectators at this summer's Olympics
Seiko Hashimoto, president of Tokyo 2020 and IOC president Thomas Bach during today's meeting about spectators at this summer's Olympics

By James Toney

Olympic officials will allow up to 10,000 spectators to attend Games events but conceded sports could be staged behind closed doors if the pandemic worsens.

However, cheering and shouting will be banned and masks will be required at all venues - outdoor and indoor - at all times

Tokyo moved to a quasi-state of emergency on Monday, with a slight loosening of the restrictions that have existed since April.

However, prime minister Yoshihida Suga warned he may shut out even the decreased number of spectators should coronavirus infection data change.

"It's definitely a possibility," he told Japanese news agency Kyodo. "I think that's obvious from the standpoint of making safety and security our utmost priority."

A nationwide survey found that 86 percent are concerned about a resurgence in COVID-19 cases if the games are held.

And Suga's top coronavirus expert, Shigeru Omi, had already called the event to be staged behind closed doors.

“We believe the risks of infections inside venues would be lowest by holding the event with no fans,” said Omi, a former World Health Organisation official, in a joint document with 26 infection experts.

“We believe it would be most desirable not to have fans inside venues. Regardless of holding the Olympics or not, Japan has continuing risks of a resurgence of the infections that puts pressure on the medical systems."

Despite this Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto has long been confident a deal for spectators could be reached, using evidence from baseball and football games staged in Japan in recent weeks.

She chaired on online meeting with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike today.

"The International Olympic Committee will fully support your decision, and will fully contribute to making these games as safe and secure for the Japanese people and for all participants," said Bach.

This weekend organisers announced there would be no fan sites in the city during the Games while earlier this year overseas travellers were told to stay away.

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